MONTEREY, Calif. (May 7, 2013) – Do race tracks have feelings? Apparently Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca does, as the track surface grip level changes more frequently than any track on the American Le Mans Series schedule.
One of the most historic tracks in sports car racing presents unique challenges to Michelin and its technical partner teams. The historic 2.238-mile circuit is located just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and is host to the third race of the 2013 ALMS season, on May 11.
“For drivers and teams, this track is all about grip and consistency,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsports, Michelin North America. “There are tracks that you can run all day long and while the temperatures may change a bit, there isn’t much drama,” said Payne. That isn’t the case here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“The marine layer keeps the track surface cool in the morning,” said Payne. “There is usually direct sun at mid-day and it heats up. In the late afternoon, it starts to cool. This race stretches into early evening, when the sun moves beyond the hills and puts the track in shadow. At that time, track temperatures drop very quickly. If the wind kicks up you get sand everywhere. The cooler surface temperatures and sand combine for an extremely slick track.”
“Rather than constantly changing tires that operate in narrow performance bands, Michelin designers and developers have expanded the performance range for each of our tires,” said Payne. “That expanded range can really pay off here as it helps teams to stay matched up to the track longer and reduce the need to change tires and give up track position.”
Michelin technical partner teams generally choose soft or medium compound tires to maximize grip.
The Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda prototype won the 2012 event, while Corvette Racing pulled off a GT class 1-2 with MICHELIN® tall front tires. “Being able to run the MICHELIN® street softs and then double–stint them was one of the keys to our speed,” said Muscle Milk co-driver Klaus Graf.
Michelin and its technical partner teams compete in all three ALMS open classes where cars of different designs, engines, manufacturers and tires are eligible. Michelin technical partners at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca include:
P1: Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda, Rebellion Racing Toyota, Dyson Racing Mazda
P2: Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD Honda (2) and Level 5 Motorsports HPD Honda (2).
GT: Corvette Racing (2), BMW Team RLL (2), SRT Viper (2), Risi Competizone Ferrari, Paul Miller Racing Porsche and CORE autosport Porsche.
For more information, visit www.michelinmedia.com or contact:
Sachin Deshpandé John Love
Michelin North America EMC Strategic Communications
office: 1 416 576 0226 office: 1 248 816 0106
email@example.com mobile: 1 313 506 2114
About Michelin North America
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 and motorcycles. The Company has earned a long-standing reputation for building innovative premium tires. In addition to tires, 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 about 22,700 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants. Forbes magazine has ranked Michelin No. 1 on its annual survey of “Best Large Employers in America” for 2018. Learn more about purpose-driven careers with a purpose-driven company at jobs.michelinman.com.