Mid-Ohio: Michelin preview

MICHELIN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE IS ON AT MID-OHIO Tight Prototype and GT Title Battles Hit Demanding Circuit; Handling and Longevity Keys LEXINGTON, OH. (July 30, 2010) - One of the season's most technically demanding...

Tight Prototype and GT Title Battles Hit Demanding Circuit; Handling and Longevity Keys

LEXINGTON, OH. (July 30, 2010) - One of the season's most technically demanding circuits kicks off a critical run of three races in four weeks that will play a key role in determining the 2010 American Le Mans Series championships for Michelin and its technical partner teams.

"Mid-Ohio is a very challenging track and at this time of the year, every point becomes critical in fighting for championships," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin ALMS technical team leader.

Michelin technical partner team highlights in the prototype class:

. The Highcroft Racing HPD - driven by David Brabham and Simon Pagenaud currently with three 2010 victories, holds a slim seven-point ALMS Prototype championship lead over the rival Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder.

. The Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder of Greg Pickett and Klaus Graf is a strong contender, recently winning the ALMS event at Lime Rock Park.

. The Drayson Racing Lola of Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker, currently fourth in the championship, is making a significant step toward its first victory after leading the last two races.

Championship battles in the GT class:

. Desspite three wins in the first five races from the defending champion Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, the team holds a mere one-point lead over BMW Rahal Letterman Racing BMW/Dunlop in the Team Championship.

. The Risi Competizione Ferrari falls to third after leading the championship heading into Lime Rock and is currently trailing by eight points despite two wins in 2010.

Mid-Ohio is a favorite track for Michelin and many of its technical partner teams. "This track throws a lot of different challenges at you with a variety of corners, elevation changes, and grip levels," said Koenigstein. "Under the current rules, our Prototype teams are much slower in straight- line speed than the competition so we need to really deliver outstanding cornering power and longevity to help our Michelin teams win."

Koenigstein sees a slightly different challenge in GT. "In the GT class right now, the field is so deep that the slightest problem is going to cost you several positions," said Koenigstein. "The cars are very closely matched so being able to out-brake or out-accelerate the competition is important to creating and taking advantage of passing opportunities. A GT team needs to run a near perfect race in order to win and choosing the right tires and car set-up is critical."

Michelin technical partners include the GT championship leading Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsches, and the 2008 and 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans class winning Risi Competizione Ferrari team and an impressive pair of entries from Corvette Racing that made a successful debut here at Mid-Ohio in 2009.

Joining Michelin as a technical partner for 2010 is Scott Sharp's Extreme Speed Motorsports two car Ferrari team. Sharp, the 2009 ALMS Prototype co- champion and co-driver Johannes van Overbeek have qualified on the front row twice in the last three races.

New for 2010 is the LMP Challenge class featuring identical LS3 Chevrolet powered Oreca prototypes racing on a non-proprietary Michelin customer level tire. The Michelin tires have provided such consistent lap times and extended wear that some teams including championship leading Level 5 Motorsports and Green Earth Team Gunnar have taken to running the entire race without changing tires.

The two-hour 45-minute Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge (August 7) at Mid-Ohio presents a mix of 13 high- and low-speed turns combined with elevation changes making the 2.25-mile circuit a tough test for drivers and tires.

Michelin and its technical partner teams have 111 overall race wins and 326 class wins in 114 ALMS races, including every open ALMS class in 2010. Together with its technical partners and drivers, Michelin has swept every ALMS manufacturer, team. driver, and tire championship since 2006.

-source: michelin

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers David Brabham , Klaus Graf , Patrick Long , Greg Pickett , Johannes van Overbeek , Simon Pagenaud , Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker
Teams Corvette Racing , Risi Competizione