DAYTONA, Fla. (January 20, 2015) – After returning to the Daytona International Speedway in 2014 following a 13 year absence, Michelin sees last year’s success in taking the Rolex 24 At Daytona GTLM class win as merely “a good start”.
In addition to the GTLM class victory for Porsche, Michelin technical partner teams racked up 21,933 race miles (6,161 laps of the 3.56 mile circuit) at Daytona in the inaugural race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
While nearly 22,000 race miles may seem substantial, Chris Baker, director of motorsports for Michelin North America, notes that it pales in comparison to the 1.1 million race miles Michelin has in winning the last 17 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans races where the company competes in all four classes.
“We have over one-million race miles at Le Mans in the past 17 years and yet we still learn new things every year,” said Baker. “It’s nice to have last year’s race here under our belts, but we certainly expect to find some new challenges in the Rolex 24 this year.”
“We will once again rely heavily upon our Michelin engineers embedded with each of our technical partner teams to help build upon what we learned last year and add breadth and depth to our understandings,” said Baker.
The GTLM class in the TUDOR Championship is incredibly competitive and filled with full-on factory or factory connected teams. In 2014, 11 different Michelin GTLM drivers claimed poles in the 11 race TUDOR Championship season.
The Aston Martin Racing, BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, AF Corse Ferrari, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Porsche North America teams have all chosen Michelin as their tire technical partner in the only class permitting open tire competition. “We will have a second Michelin engineer embedded with our two-car teams to help collect data, assess handling, tire wear and changes in conditions,” said Baker.
“The number of variables in a 24 hour race is endless,” said Baker. Variables can include frequent changes in weather, track and ambient temperatures, changes in the track surface and grip levels; caution periods, car updates, new drivers and the unpredictable interaction between Michelin’s proprietary tire compounds and those of other tires in other classes and preliminary events.
Rain is in the preliminary forecast, a development that Baker and the Michelin engineers typically savor. “It always rains at Le Mans,” said Baker, repeating the opening line from Audi’s acclaimed documentary, “Truth in 24”. “If it rains here we will learn a lot about wet tire grip levels, wear, track drying patterns and cross-over points from wet to dry tires.”
The only change Baker does not want to see is in the number of distinctive blue Michelin driver podium hats on the GTLM class podium at the end of the Rolex 24.
For more information, visit www.michelinmedia.com or contact:
John Love Brian Remsberg
EMC Strategic Communications Michelin North America
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