LE MANS VICTORIES GIVE MICHELIN ADDED INCENTIVE TO CONTINUE NORTH AMERICAN GT 1 WINNING STREAK AT MID-OHIO Panoz GTR-1s and Champion Porsche to Compete with Michelin Pilots (GREENVILLE, SC) --- Michelin is hoping to extend its North American...
LE MANS VICTORIES GIVE MICHELIN ADDED INCENTIVE TO CONTINUE NORTH AMERICAN GT 1 WINNING STREAK AT MID-OHIO
Panoz GTR-1s and Champion Porsche to Compete with Michelin Pilots
(GREENVILLE, SC) --- Michelin is hoping to extend its North American GT winning streak to six this Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, fueled by the momentum created after Michelin's Pilot radials rolled to the overall victory and the GT2 title in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend.
The Michelin-equipped Porsche GT1-98, piloted by Alan McNish of Britain, Laurent Aiello and Stepane Ortelli of France, claimed the GT1 and overall victory in the world's most prestigious endurance race. The Michelin-fitted Dodge Viper GTS-R driven by American David Brabham, Justin Bell of Britain and Luca Drudi of Italy were the victors in GT2. Michelin supported cars finished second in both GT1 and in GT2. Panoz GTR-1s finished 7th and 26th in their second year of GT1 competition at Le Mans.
Two Panoz cars will try to help extend Michelin's five race winning streak in North American GT racing in this weekend's two and one-half hour USRRC-sanctioned race. The Michelin-supplied Panoz team at Mid-Ohio will consist of 1998 Sebring winners Andy Wallace and David Brabham in the No 4 Panoz Motorsports GTR-1. Eric Bernard and Raul Boesel will drive the No. 5 Panoz. Thierry Boutsen and Bob Wollek will be trying to put the Michelin-fitted Champion Porsche in victory lane.
Michelin claimed the GT1 class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Rohr Motorsports Porsche 911 GT1. Panoz Motorsports drivers Wallace and Brabham led a Michelin sweep of GT1 at Sebring. The Champion Porsche finished in the runner up position, followed by a second Panoz entry. Panoz also has victories at Las Vegas, Homestead and Lime Rock Park.
"Michelin is very pleased with such a strong start to the GT racing season, but winning Le Mans after victories at Daytona and Sebring is tremendous," said Herb Johnson, Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America. "The Michelin Pilot radials have proven themselves on many different types of race circuits and have really shown their endurance this year."
Michelin and Panoz are partnered for the entire 1998 North American GT racing season. They will run in all Professional Sports Car races and in select USRRC events. Last season, the Panoz team won four races, placed second four times and set three records in their race at Sebring.
In addition to its activity in the GT racing scene this year, Michelin North America will supply tires for the Barber Dodge Pro Series. The series is now recognized as the direct path to higher levels of open-wheel competition, in particular the CART Indy Lights championship, itself the Official Development Series of the CART FedEx Champ Car Series. The Michelin tire program also includes the Skip Barber Racing School, the Dodge/Skip Barber Driving School and the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series.