MICHELIN TEAMS READY FOR MILESTONE SEBRING New Prototypes and GT Cars Debut with Michelin SEBRING, FLA. (March 12, 2009) - A wave of exciting new prototypes from Audi, Acura, Mazda and the return of the Peugeot prototypes make...
MICHELIN TEAMS READY FOR MILESTONE SEBRING
New Prototypes and GT Cars Debut with Michelin
SEBRING, FLA. (March 12, 2009) - A wave of exciting new prototypes from Audi, Acura, Mazda and the return of the Peugeot prototypes make the opening race of the 2009 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season, the Twelve Hours of Sebring, especially exciting. America's most historic sports car race will mark the 100th race in ALMS history.
"Michelin is pleased that outstanding manufacturers like Audi, Acura and Mazda have chosen Michelin as their technical partner for the exciting new prototypes," said Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager. "We expect these prototypes, together with returning prototypes from our technical partners at Peugeot and Acura (LMP2), to make this a highly competitive and historic race."
The distinctly different designs of the Audi, Acura and Mazda prototypes each present different technical challenges for Michelin. "The competition is so strong that designers are becoming increasingly innovative and aggressive in the design of their new cars," said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin technical team leader. "Instead of look-alike cars, each manufacturer is going in a different direction, and that means we have different learning curves and technical challenges with each team. Starting the ALMS season with a 12-hour race at Sebring provides a good opportunity to see how everyone stacks up and to better understand the performance needs and opportunities for each car."
The 2009 edition of the Twelve Hours of Sebring may be truly historic:
. Will Audi win with their new Audi R15 TDI - in its first and possibly last ALMS race?
. Will the third trip across the pond be the charm for Peugeot as they seek to claim their first ALMS victory?
. Will Acura score its first LMP1 victory in their debut race with the new LMP1 Acura ARX-02a?
. Will the new Mazda-Dyson Racing combination strike gold and win the LMP2 class?
. Which one of the seven Marques will claim GT2 victory?
SINGLES, DOUBLES, TRIPLES ADD UP TO MICHELIN HOME RUNS
In addition to maximizing performance with handling, cornering power, performance and outright speed, Michelin technical partner teams may be tempted to take advantage of the exceptional long life and consistency of MICHELIN® tires by double-stinting, saving approximately 15 seconds each time they skip a tire change during a pit stop. The key to double-stinting is that the tire performance must remain strong through the extended run.
The consistency and ability to multi-stint tires will be especially important to the Audi, Peugeot, Corvette, Risi Ferrari, Flying Lizard Porsche and Drayson Aston Martin teams as all have had their entries accepted for the 2009 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans where new pit stop rules are expected to nearly double the time needed to change tires.
PORSCHE-MICHELIN PREPARED TO DEFEND GT2 TITLES
Porsche opens up defense of their 2008 ALMS GT2 Championships (Manufacturer, Team and Driver) by introducing the latest version of their legendary Porsche 911 GT3 RSR sports car. The Michelin-fitted teams from Flying Lizard Motorsports, Farnbacher Loles Racing and VICI Racing are prepared to battle six other Marques for Sebring and Championship titles.
Michelin seeks their fourth consecutive ALMS class championship sweep in 2009 after securing every ALMS manufacturer, team, driver and tire championship for the past three years. They will be attempting to win their tenth consecutive ALMS Tire Championship in LMP1 and GT2 categories and their seventh in GT1 and fourth in LMP2. Unlike other forms of motorsports with run a 'spec tire', the ALMS enjoys a fierce battle among numerous tire companies.
With the exception of three laps under caution early in the 2005 race, Michelin technical partner teams have led every green flag lap at Sebring since lap 296 of the 1999 race. That adds up to 3,236 laps or more than 11,900 miles of competition at Sebring.
Dating back to the series' inception in 1999, Michelin technical partner teams have led 16,491 out of a possible 17,268 (95 percent) in ALMS competition en route to winning 96 out of 99 races, including ten consecutive Twelve Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans events.
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 22,600 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.