MM for pre race
Posted on May 07, 2013

Michelin Expanded Range Tires Ready for Sensitive Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

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.

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Sachin Deshpandé                                                              John Love

Michelin North America                                                     EMC Strategic Communications

office: 1 416 576 0226                                                      office: 1 248 816 0106                              mobile: 1 313 506 2114


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About Michelin North America

Michelin, the leading mobility company, is dedicated to enhancing its customers’ mobility, and sustainably; designing and distributing the most innovative tires, services and solutions for its customers’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve a variety of industries. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Michelin North America has approximately 23,000 employees and operates 34 production facilities in the United States and Canada. (