Michelin Ready for Lime Rock ALMS Sprint
Fresh from 24 Hours of Le Mans Success, Michelin Readies for Opposite Event
LAKEVILLE, CONN. - Fresh from its most recent triumph in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a milestone 100th American Le Mans Series (ALMS) win at Salt Lake City, Michelin and its technical partner teams are preparing for virtually opposite challenges in the two hours and 45-minutes of the Northeast Grand Prix of Lime Rock Park.
Michelin and its technical partner teams from Peugeot, Porsche, Corvette and Ferrari swept the victories in all four classes at Le Mans, providing a 12th consecutive overall win for Michelin.
While a single lap at Le Mans measures 8.469 miles in length, a lap at Lime Rock is just 1.54 miles. Lap times at Le Mans are typically in the three minute, 30-second range while at Lime Rock, even the slowest of the four classes laps in well under one minute, with the quickest LMP1 and LMP2 class prototypes in the 46-47 second range. Where Le Mans is relatively flat, Lime Rock features significant elevation changes.
“The challenges for Michelin at Lime Rock are very different,” said Silvia Mammone, Michelin Motorsports manager. "At Le Mans the challenge is to make things very consistent for the long haul. You set up the car for 24 hours, select tires that you can double-, triple-, even quadruple-stint to save time on pits stops, and do everything possible to minimize time in the pits and avoid contact with other cars.
“At Lime Rock, the gloves come off; you go into full attack mode and try to be aggressive every second of the race. One top driver describes ALMS prototypes at Lime Rock as akin to racing fighter jets in your living room. There is a lot of action and no time for the driver to rest or the tires to cool,” said Mammone.
“When it comes to tire development and selection, Michelin always tries to understand the needs of the customer, be it a racing team or a minivan owner,” said Mammone. “We try to match the right tire to the right vehicle for the consumer and where and how they drive, just like the race teams need different tires for different cars and different tracks.”
Reconfigured and freshly resurfaced in the weeks prior to the 2008 ALMS race, the Lime Rock track presented new challenges, including unusually high track surface temperatures last July. The race was won by the Danbury, CT based Patrón Highcroft Acura as Michelin technical partner teams emerged victorious in all of the ALMS classes. After curing for 12 months and surviving a Northeast winter, the track, which provides the shortest lap length and lap time on the ALMS circuit, is expected to provide measures that are closer to traditional levels in 2009.
“The track is so quick and aggressive that the teams want Michelin to provide tires with great turn in and braking for extended stints,” said Mammone. “You can very easily fall a lap down in just one stint, so being able to maintain the pace for a full stint and provide the opportunity to double-stint as part of a race strategy will be very important.”
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.michelinman.com) employs more than 22,600 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.
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