DAYTONA, Fla. (January 25, 2014) - Michelin technology helped Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL open the North American motorsport season in style as Michelin successfully returned to the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the opening event of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Taking the victory in the GTLM class, the only category permitting open tire competition, was the #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe.
Closing to finish just 0.478 seconds back after a 725 lap (2,581 mile) GTLM battle was the BMW Z4 GTE from BMW Team RLL driven by Bill Auberlen, Dirk Werner, Augusto Farfus and Bruno Spengler. Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Simon Pagenaud finished third.
The 24 hour race on the demanding 3.56 mile Daytona International Speedway provided a thorough test of teams, machines and drivers with tires playing a major role in meeting the changing demands.
“Most of our teams used our MICHELIN “medium cool” tire compound to help deal with the lower temperatures,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsports for Michelin North America.
“Leaving the pits on cold new tires for a restart on a very cold track made it especially important that our Michelin race engineers work closely with their teams and drivers to anticipate the proper pressures and settings,” said Payne.
The clear, sunny daytime conditions saw track temperatures drop from a peak of 84 degrees shortly after the 2:10pm Saturday start all the way into the mid-40s for much of the night and into Sunday morning before returning into the low 80 degree range for the finish.
“The car has been pretty consistent from stint to stint. In my last stint, the car felt the best it’s been all race. It’s super-fast and consistent, and we had great longevity with the MICHELIN tire throughout the stint. That is exactly what we need,” said Briscoe following his final stint aboard the winning Corvette C7.R.
Fierce competition in the factory team dominated GT Le Mans (GTLM) class saw nearly every car in the class lead at some stage of the 24 hour race.
The relentless pace and consistency of the factory GTLM class saw the winning Corvette, second place BMW and third place GTLM Corvette finish fifth, sixth and eighth overall in the 53 car field, despite starting 29th, 31st and 25th in the four class field.
Corvette Racing’s Gavin claimed the class pole for the race with a new GTLM record lap, the only record set in qualifying. In doing so he became the 12th different driver to claim a GTLM race pole in the 12 IMSA TUDOR Championship races to date.
Michelin technical partners from BMW Team RLL (fourth), Porsche North America (fifth and seventh) and Aston Martin Racing (sixth) helped complete a Michelin sweep of the top seven GTLM positions.
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