Lime Rock: Michelin preview

MICHELIN READY TO ATTACK FRESH LIME ROCK TRACK Newly Configured and Repaved Track Brings Several Unknowns LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 8, 2008) - A freshly repaved and reconfigured Lime Rock Park circuit awaits Michelin and its technical ...

MICHELIN READY TO ATTACK FRESH LIME ROCK TRACK
Newly Configured and Repaved Track Brings Several Unknowns

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 8, 2008) - A freshly repaved and reconfigured Lime Rock Park circuit awaits Michelin and its technical partner teams as Michelin returns to action in the fifth stop on the 2008 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, the Northeast Grand Prix, July 11-12 at Lime Rock Park.

Fresh from their unprecedented 11th consecutive win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin faces new challenges here at the shortest and quickest lap time track on the ALMS schedule.

The new Lime Rock Park configuration; chicanes, and track surface all represent unknowns for Michelin and its partner teams, with no testing until race week. "The reconfiguration of some corners and addition of the chicanes lead us to expect that there will be a slower overall lap speed and even heavier than usual race traffic," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin motorsports technical team leader for ALMS.

The other unknowns are related to the repaving project which is expected to be completed mere days before the race. "About half of the Lime Rock Park track will have fresh paving, which typically offers higher grip levels, but that usually also means higher track temperatures and increased tire wear. If tire wear and loading have changed with the paving; new chicanes and reconfiguration, then we may move one range harder on our tire selections for the race," said Koenigstein.

"Scenarios like this, with lots of new variables, reaffirm the importance of the Michelin tire engineer that we place with each of our technical partner teams," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports & sponsorship manager. "The teams and our tire engineers will be sorting out a lot of new data and looking to evaluate their options to make the best choice. Tires are very important at Lime Rock Park, due to the heavy traffic and demands for stability under braking; crisp turn-in; efficient power down and consistency lap after lap," said Mammone.

The biggest change may have little to do with the track changes and paving. "We are coming from our longest track,

Le Mans, at over eight miles long, to the shortest track, Lime Rock," said Koenigstein. "Lime Rock requires a completely different mindset than Le Mans. Here, you have to be pretty aggressive, especially in traffic, and drivers are hustling the car harder. They are taking more chances. This is a sprint race and you need to be quick. Le Mans is a 24-hour mechanical war; Lime Rock is a knife fight in a dark alley."

-credit: michelin

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Series ALMS