LE MANS, MID-OHIO VICTORIES GIVE MICHELIN ADDED MOMENTUM Three Panoz GTR-1s and Champion Porsche to Race with Michelin Pilot Radials (GREENVILLE, SC) --- With victories the two previous weekends at Le Mans and Mid-Ohio, Michelin hopes to...
LE MANS, MID-OHIO VICTORIES GIVE MICHELIN ADDED MOMENTUM Three Panoz GTR-1s and Champion Porsche to Race with Michelin Pilot Radials
(GREENVILLE, SC) --- With victories the two previous weekends at Le Mans and Mid-Ohio, Michelin hopes to continue its North American GT1 winning streak at scenic Road Atlanta in this Sunday's Sports Car Grand Prix sanctioned by Professional Sports Car Racing. The 2.5-mile natural road course is the home track of the Michelin-equipped Panoz Motorsports GTR-1s.
The Florida-based Champion Porsche will also be competing with Michelin Pilot radials.
With six race victories in a row in GT1 racing this year, including last weekend's race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Michelin-fitted Panoz GTR-1s and the Champion Porsche will be working hard for number seven. The Panoz team at Road Atlanta will consist of 1998 Sebring winners Andy Wallace and David Brabham in the No 4 Panoz. Eric Bernard and Raul Boesel will drive the No. 5 Panoz and Johnny O'Connell and Doc Bundy will drive the No. 45 Panoz. This is the first time this season Panoz has entered a third car. Thierry Boutsen and Bob Wollek will drive the Champion Porsche.
"Our victory last week at Mid-Ohio, combined with winning at Le Mans the week before, gives Michelin great momentum coming into Road Atlanta," said Herb Johnson," Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America. "It is a tough and demanding race course that should put the Michelin Pilot radials through their paces. So winning at Road Atlanta would have special meaning given our partnership with Panoz Motorsports."
Michelin and Panoz are partnered for the entire 1998 North American GT racing season. They are running all Professional Sports Car races and in select USRRC events.
Michelin began the season by claiming 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 also has momentum gained from its dual victories at Le Mans two weeks ago. 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 Donohue, 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.
Michelin is also the "Official Tire of Road Atlanta." In recognition of Michelin's sponsorship at Road Atlanta, the bridge overlooking the downhill chute to turn 12 is now recognized as the "Michelin Bridge". In addition, Michelin has a prominent presence on the Start/Finish Tower. Other Michelin signage is located throughout the racing facility.
Panoz Motorsports purchased the 2.5-mile circuit last year and has resurfaced the track and replaced the legendary "dip" at the end of the long back-straight with a quick left-right corner that should present a challenge to the Panoz and Champion drivers.