MICHELIN EXPECTS "AGGRESSIVE" APPROACH AT ACURA SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 15, 2008) - Michelin heads to the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for its first back-to-back weekend of racing...
MICHELIN EXPECTS "AGGRESSIVE" APPROACH AT ACURA SPORTS CAR CHALLENGE AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 15, 2008) - Michelin heads to the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for its first back-to-back weekend of racing on the 2008 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) schedule following a perfect weekend at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Having captured all four class poles and wins at Lime Rock, Michelin technical partner teams and drivers enter Mid-Ohio leading every championship and having scored a perfect 20 of 20 possible class wins in 2008 ALMS competition. They expect to continue to be aggressive at Mid- Ohio.
The victory at Lime Rock Park by the Patrón Highcroft Acura driven by David Brabham and Scott Sharp, the first ever for Acura and the team, extends the current Michelin overall ALMS win streak to 40 consecutive races.
Mid-Ohio is one of the most demanding and technically challenging tracks in the ALMS. The mix of 13 high- and low-speed turns combined with elevation changes makes the 2.25-mile circuit a tough test for drivers and tires. Despite its challenges, or perhaps precisely because of them, Mid-Ohio is a favorite track for Michelin and many of its technical partner teams.
The Michelin line-up for Mid-Ohio includes the prototypes from: Audi; Porsche (Penske and Dyson); Acura (XM Andretti Green; de Ferran Motorsports; Lowe's Fernandez Racing; and Patrón Highcroft Racing), and the GT entries from Corvette; Porsche (Flying Lizard Motorsports and Farnbacher Loles Racing) and the Ferrari (Risi Competizione and Tafel Racing).
To illustrate the level of performance in the ALMS, consider that although the less powerful ALMS P2 class prototypes are approximately 20-25 mph slower on the straight-aways than Indycars, they run virtually identical laps times. That ALMS prototype performance is keyed by three factors: greater downforce; ceramic brakes; and MICHELIN® tires that help the top ALMS prototypes achieve greater cornering speeds.
The Mid-Ohio circuit runs in a clockwise direction with 8 of the 13 turns right-handers, making setting up the left side of the car critical. "Since the cars are all different, we have three MICHELIN tire compound options, so we can mix and match different MICHELIN tires to optimize the performance and strategic choices for each team," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin motorsports technical team leader for ALMS.
"Michelin and many of our technical partner teams often test at Mid-Ohio so we expect everyone to be very aggressive right from the first minutes of practice," said Koenigstein.
QUALIFYING PRESSURE Qualifying is important at Mid-Ohio as the narrow track makes passing very difficult, and, with the LMP2 and GT2 classes featuring strong and deep fields, any spots won on the starting grid should provide an advantage in track position for the two-hour 45-minute race. Michelin technical partners all broke their respective tracks records in qualifying at last year's race.