Road Atlanta: Michelin preview

Bibendum goes to Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta Having just successfully completed the longest race of the season, the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin teams must now quickly shift gears to prepare for one of the shortest races of the...

Bibendum goes to Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta

Having just successfully completed the longest race of the season, the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin teams must now quickly shift gears to prepare for one of the shortest races of the year, the two-hour, 45-minute sprint at the Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta at Road Atlanta, June 27-29, 2003.

"Racing at Le Mans puts a big premium on consistency and durability," said Amanda Head, Michelin motorsports marketing manager. "We won all four classes and swept the top ten spots overall because we were able to provide our outstanding partner teams with fast tires that delivered the handling and wear they needed to double, triple and even quadruple stint to gain victory."

"The winning Bentley car at Le Mans went longer on one set of Michelin tires with the quadruple stint than the entire race distance here at Road Atlanta. At Road Atlanta, we have a true sprint race."

"You would very rarely triple stint here, because teams need to change drivers sooner. Yellow flags can also play an important part in the race strategies. In three hours at Le Mans, you are just getting settled into the race. Here, in three hours, the race is over and the trophies are being presented. It is a very different mindset and requires different tires and race strategies."

As a result, Michelin teams are expected to seek aggressive race set-ups and the tires to match with speed and track position being the priority.

"We are obviously pleased by our success at Le Mans," said Head, "but we won't rest. We know that there are some very good teams here, including some that skipped Le Mans in order to focus on victory here. We want to continue our momentum."

Michelin Man Meets Road Atlanta Race Fans

One of the best-known icons in the world, the Michelin Man, will be highly visible at this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta. Officially known as "Bibendum", the Michelin Man first appeared 105 years ago, in a poster advertisement. Bibendum was named the #1 Corporate Logo in the World in 2000 by The Financial Times and R.O.B. (Report on Business), who surveyed a worldwide jury of experts in art, communication, architecture and design.

Potent Michelin Line-Up

A total of 16 cars will ride on Michelin tires at Road Atlanta. In the prototype category, Michelin-shod entries include Joest Racing, Champion Racing, JML Team Panoz and Doran Lista Racing. The recently crowned Le Mans GTS champions, Veloqx ProDrive, will field a pair of Ferrari 550 Maranellos. And in the GT class, Alex Job Racing, also straight off their Le Mans victory, headline an assortment of Porsche entries from Orbit Racing, the Racers' Group and J-3 Racing. Risi Competizione rounds out the GT class with their Ferrari 360 Modena.

Winning Big

Michelin arrives at Road Atlanta coming off two dominating performances at the 12 Hours of Sebring and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin won its fifth consecutive Sebring race while leading all 367 laps. Michelin teams also scored the GT victory and won the overall, LMP900 and GT poles.

Michelin also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Bentley), its sixth consecutive win and ninth in the last 12 years. The tire maker swept the podium and took the top ten spots overall. Its teams led all 377 laps and won the LMP675 class (Del Bello Noel Reynard), the GTS class (Veloqx ProDrive Ferrari 550) and the GT class (Alex Job/White Lightning Porsche).

Leader of the Pack

It isn't always easy to be the leader, but Michelin and its teams seem to like it up front. Despite competition from five other tire companies, Michelin teams enter this weekend's Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta having led 6,909 of the 7,107 laps (97 percent) in ALMS competition since the series began in 1999. The last time that another tire company led an ALMS race was at Portland in September 2000. Michelin also has won 38 of 39 races in ALMS history.

Michelin Currently Leads ALMS Tire Wars - Michelin seeks its fifth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship for the top LMP900 category and its fourth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship for the GT category in 2003. Unlike other forms of motorsports which run a single "spec tire", the ALMS enjoys a fierce battle among tire companies including Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlop, Yokohama, Pirelli and Avon. Michelin currently leads the ALMS Tire Championship with 26 points over Dunlop's 8 in the LMP900 category. Michelin has 26 points in the GT category, resulting from Alex Job Porsche team's victory at Sebring, pulling them ahead of Yokohama (19), Pirelli (16) and Dunlop (10).

Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta Live on CBS - The Chevy Grand Prix of Atlanta will be aired live at 4:00 p.m. ET, June 29, on CBS.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Alex Job
Teams Risi Competizione , Alex Job Racing