MICHELIN UNVEILS NEW "STREET SOFT" TIRES FOR ST. PETERSBURG AND LONG BEACH ALMS RACES ST. PETERSBURG, FLA (March 27, 2008) - Michelin engineers are never satisfied. Despite having won every temporary circuit or "street race" in the history of...
MICHELIN UNVEILS NEW "STREET SOFT" TIRES FOR ST. PETERSBURG AND LONG BEACH ALMS RACES
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA (March 27, 2008) - Michelin engineers are never satisfied. Despite having won every temporary circuit or "street race" in the history of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Michelin race tire designers, chemists, engineers and technical leaders are set to unveil a new "street soft" tire option for the second and third stops of the 2008 ALMS season, the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg and the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.
The latest Michelin ALMS tires will complete a foursome of dry tire options for Michelin technical partner teams including factory teams from Audi; Acura; Porsche; Corvette and Ferrari.
"Grip is always at a premium on temporary circuits, so we wanted to provide our teams with a 'softer than soft' option tire, but one that still delivers extended durability and consistency," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader.
"Track time is always limited at street circuits and, obviously, we aren't allowed to test here before race week so we will still have our traditional soft and medium option tires available," said Koenigstein, "but I expect that most of our teams will start with the Michelin street soft tires and see how they work here at St Petersburg. Two car teams may split their strategies and have one car on each compound for the first practice," continued Koenigstein.
With the race length reduced to one-hour 55-minutes, many teams are expected to complete the race with just one pit stop. That opens the possibility that some teams may be tempted to run the entire race on a single set of Michelin® tires, thus enhancing their track position by saving the 12-15 seconds required to change tires.
There is a precedent for running the entire race on a single set of Michelin® tires. Champion Audi won the inaugural ALMS Miami Grand Prix in 2002, winning the pole, setting the fastest lap of the race, leading the most laps and winning the two-hour 45-minute race all on just one set of Michelin® tires. It is the only time that a team has won an ALMS race using just one set of tires.
If the new Michelin street soft tires perform as expected they will help improve braking; turn-in; mid-corner and power down at the exit of turns.
"Michelin has great technical partner teams like Audi Sport North America; Penske Racing; Dyson Racing; Andretti Green Racing; Lowe's Fernandez Racing; Patron Highcroft Racing; Corvette Racing; Risi Competizione; Flying Lizard Motorsports; Tafel Racing and Farnbacher Loles Racing. We are always pushing each other in technical developments," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports & sponsorship manager.
"If the new Michelin street soft tires work well and someone wins the St. Pete or Long Beach race by going the full distance with just one set of tires it would be a great tribute to our technical team," said Mammone. "And if that happens, I can predict exactly what they will say; "if the team can go the full race on 'street softs' it means we can make our next tires even softer!"
MICHELIN SUCCESS AT INAUGURAL ACURA SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE OF ST. PETERSBURG
Last year at St. Petersburg, Michelin and their partner teams made history by claiming Michelin's 75th ALMS overall race win, a number that currently resides at 86. Michelin-partner teams took the overall, LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2 wins at the inaugural Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg.
Michelin and their technical partner teams have scored 86 overall race victories in the 89 race ALMS history and a total of 245 class wins. Michelin partner teams have won the last 10 consecutive years at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelin.com) employs more than 22,300 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.