Sebring: Michelin race report

Michelin Teams with Audi, Corvette, Porsche To Make Sebring History HISTORY AT SEBRING - A trio of Michelin-fitted Audi R8 prototypes swept the podium at the finish of America's oldest major sports car race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring...

Michelin Teams with Audi, Corvette, Porsche To Make Sebring History

HISTORY AT SEBRING - A trio of Michelin-fitted Audi R8 prototypes swept the podium at the finish of America's oldest major sports car race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring this evening.

The victory by the #28 Audi R8 driven by Allan McNish, Frank Biela and Pierre Kaffer is Audi's fifth consecutive win at Sebring, a feat previously achieved only by Porsche. "We want to congratulate our friends at Audi, their teams and drivers on this great achievement. Michelin is delighted to be Audi's technology partner and to have played a role in their success," said Amanda Head, Michelin motorsports marketing manager.

CORVETTE WINS IN MICHELIN DEBUT - The #3 Chevrolet Corvette C5-R of Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Max Papis took the GTS class honors and fourth place overall, winning the pole and dominating the race. The victory came in their very first race fitted with Michelin tires. The win was the sixth Sebring class victory for O'Connell.

LOTS OF "DOUBLES," NO TROUBLES - Adding to the smiles in the Corvette camp were the five double-stinted runs (two fuel loads on one set of Michelin tires). Eliminating the tire change saves approximately 20-25 seconds per pit stop, but is only worthwhile if the car consistently maintains the proper handling and lap time. "Being able to double-stint tires is a big step in Corvette's plan to retake Le Mans this June," said Head. "This is the first time the Corvette team has ever successfully double-stinted."

LEADING THE CHARGE - Ron Fellows and Oliver Gavin made their first competition stints on Michelin tires in impressive fashion. Fellows took the early lead and bettered the old Sebring GTS competition lap record (1:59:357) eight times in his opening stint. Meanwhile, teammate Gavin didn't take long to recover the ground lost after a qualifying penalty put him at the back of the field. He put his new Michelin tires to good use, bettering the old lap mark 16 times in the first 25 laps. Unfortunately, a clutch failure after lap 87 put the #4 Corvette of Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen out of the event.

PORSCHE GT SWEEP - Michelin-fitted Porsches swept the top five spots in the hotly contested GT Class, won by the #23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Timo Bernhard and Sascha Maassen. The victory was the fifth in the last six ALMS contests for the AJR team and fourth consecutive GT class win for Maassen.

MICHELIN MILESTONE - Despite competition from five tire companies, Lap 40 of today's race marked the 1,500th consecutive lap or 5,500 miles of competition that Michelin-fitted cars have led at Sebring, a streak that dates back to the closing stages of the 1999 race. Audi UK star and ex-Toyota Formula One driver Alan McNish took the honor of leading Michelin's 1,500th lap. Michelin's lap leading total now stands at 1,810 or 6,707 miles around Sebring.

-michelin-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Max Papis , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Sascha Maassen , Oliver Gavin , Timo Bernhard , Olivier Beretta , Pierre Kaffer , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing