Mid-Ohio: Michelin preview

Le Mans Momentum - Michelin comes to Mid-Ohio from its fifth straight victory in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin dominated the 24-hour endurance race, taking nine of the top 10 positions including the overall victory with Audi. Michelin...

Le Mans Momentum - Michelin comes to Mid-Ohio from its fifth straight victory in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin dominated the 24-hour endurance race, taking nine of the top 10 positions including the overall victory with Audi. Michelin teams swept the podium, taking the overall, LMP 900 class, GT class and LMP 675 class victories despite competition from Goodyear, Pirelli, Dunlop, Avon and Yokohama. Michelin cars led all 375 laps and secured the top 10 positions in qualifying. Michelin has now recorded five consecutive Le Mans wins and eight in the last 11 years.

Le Mans Champs - The Michelin fitted Le Mans winning Audi R8 of Frank Biela, Emanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen return to ALMS competition as Audi teammates but not driving partners. Kristensen co-pilots his Audi R8 with Rinaldo Capello while Biela and Pirro will team together in their Audi R8. Meanwhile, the Le Mans GT class winning Kevin Buckler Racers Group Porsche, which was driven by Buckler, Lucas Luhr and Timo Bernhard, will also split up. Luhr and Bernhard return to the Alex Job Racing Porsche team. Both teams race on Michelin slicks.

ALMS at Mid-Ohio - In 2001, the first year of ALMS competition at this track, Michelin captured the top two spots as Jan Magnussen and David Brabham piloted their Panoz LMP Roadster S to victory over Audi Sport drivers Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen. In addition, Michelin swept the podium in the GT category as JJ Lehto and Jorg Muller drove their Michelin-shod BMW to victory followed by teammates Dirk Muller and Frederick Ekblom. A Michelin-shod Porsche driven by Randy Pobst and Christian Menzel finished third.

Double Stinting to Victory - Double-stinting their Michelin tires was a strategy that paid off last year at Mid-Ohio. Jan Magnussen, who ran his Panoz on hot-weather Michelin slicks, was able to double stint his tires without a drop-off in performance on his way to victory. Skipping the tire change saves nearly 20 seconds on a pit stop. Magnussen's margin of victory over the #1 Audi was 11.3 seconds. The tires were actually faster at the end of the stint than they were at the beginning.

Segways to the Winner's Circle - Michelin race engineers will again be aboard Segway HTs at Mid-Ohio, the revolutionary new transporters that look like a self-balancing scooter with a single axle. At Sears Point, the most recent ALMS event, Michelin's Panoz engineer Donnie Wilson and Michelin's Champion Audi engineer Perry Hyder debuted the Segway HTs when they drove them from the Michelin compound to their garages, paddock and then back. They then saw their cars finish first and second in a spirited duel to the finish.

Demanding Mid-Ohio - The 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio course is a highly technical and demanding track well known to racers. Mid-Ohio has everything to challenge the driver and the tires: long curves, tight off-camber corners, long straights and elevation changes. A narrow track, Mid-Ohio puts a premium on track position as passing can be difficult, thus qualifying well is important. The weather also is a factor in late June and could dictate tire compound selection. Michelin will bring 1600 tires and a variety of different constructions and compound solutions for its 12 partner cars.

Michelin Leads ALMS Tire Championship - Despite competition from five other tire companies, Michelin has continued to lead every lap on its way to victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring and at the Grand Prix of Sonoma and currently leads the ALMS Tire Championship with 55 points over Goodyear's 41 in the LMP900 category. Michelin has 55 points in the GT category, resulting from Alex Job Porsche team's victories at Sebring and at Sears Point, pulling them ahead of Pirelli (41), Yokohama (38) and Dunlop (28). Michelin is the defending ALMS Tire Champion overall and in the LMP900 and GT categories.

For complete information on Michelin motorsports worldwide, visit www.michelinsport.com.

-michelin-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Rinaldo Capello , Tom Kristensen , Dirk Müller , Jan Magnussen , Jorg Muller , Randy Pobst , Lucas Luhr , Kevin Buckler , Alex Job , Christian Menzel , Emanuele Pirro , JJ Lehto