Sebring Panoz, Michelin Race Report

(SEBRING, FLA.) --- Michelin's wet weather tires gave the No. 4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 of Andy Wallace the grip and traction it needed in the closing laps to capture the GT1 and overall victory in last Saturday's rain soaked SPORTS CAR event at ...

(SEBRING, FLA.) --- Michelin's wet weather tires gave the No. 4 Visteon Panoz GTR-1 of Andy Wallace the grip and traction it needed in the closing laps to capture the GT1 and overall victory in last Saturday's rain soaked SPORTS CAR event at Sebring International Raceway. Wallace, along with co-driver David Brabham, also gave Michelin its first overall victory in North American sports car racing, and eleventh consecutive GT1 victory of the year after wet weather interrupted and slowed the race.

Michelin's wet weather tires helped Panoz Motor Sports win their two-year battle to capture an overall victory in North American sports car racing and helped them wrap up two SPORTS CAR titles.

"The Michelin rain tires were fantastic," said Wallace, speaking about how the sure-footed Michelin rain tires allowed him to transfer power to the track on the extremely wet race course. "It wasn't easy out there, but it was nice to know you had the Michelin tires under you to give you grip."

Wallace had the traction and handling he needed to pass the No. 20 World Sports Car of Elliott Forbes Robinson for the lead on lap 28 of the 33-lap race.

The victory came after the three-hour race was red-flagged for 64 minutes due to heavy rain. The event was also slowed by several caution periods including one for the Michelin-equipped No.5 Panoz, driven by Eric Bernard and Johnny O'Connell, which rolled to a stop after suffering electrical problems due to the wet weather. It returned to finish third in GT1.

"The rain made it a tough day for the Panoz team and drivers, but for Michelin and Panoz to capture their first overall victories in North American sports car racing makes it a great day," said Herb Johnson," Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America.

Panoz also secured the SPORTS CAR Manufacturer and Team points crowns with their victory. One of the Panoz drivers will win the Driver's title as well. Wallace and Brabham are tied with 135 points, moving ahead of teammate, Bernard who has 127.

Brabham, driving the No. 4 Panoz, captured the GT1 pole with a time 1:54.674=116.15 mph around the 17-turn, 3.7-mile road course. Bernard qualified the No 5 Panoz second with a time of 1:55.263=115.56 mph.

Michelin began the season by claiming the GT1 class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Rohr Motorsports Porsche 911 GT1. Panoz Motorsports drivers Wallace and Brabham led a Michelin sweep of GT1 at Sebring. The Champion Porsche finished in the runner up position, followed by a second Panoz entry. Panoz also has victories at Las Vegas, Homestead, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Minneapolis and Mosport. Champion Porsche won at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen.

In addition to two Sebring victories, Panoz also has won at Las Vegas, Homestead, Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio, Minneapolis and Mosport. Champion Porsche won at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen.

Michelin, which brought the world the radial tire more than 50 years ago, is the world's largest tire company. It has 22 plants in North America and produces tires for every type of vehicle, from bicycles to the space shuttle.

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Andy Wallace , David Brabham , Johnny O'Connell