deltawing roadatlanta 15
Posted on October 15, 2012

Michelin Comes with Grip at Petit Le Mans

DeltaWing Makes American Race Debut, Tire Torturing Track Final Test of ALMS Season 

BRASELTON, GA (October 15, 2012) – Michelin and its technical partner teams head to a torturous track for the 10-Hour/1000-Mile Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, October 20, the final race of a highly competitive American Le Mans Series season, looking to close out a pair a major championships and introduce a radical car to American competition.

The Nissan DeltaWing, the most radical car of the past 40 years, will make its American competition debut in the event. Designed to race at half the horsepower, weight, fuel and tire use of conventional prototypes, the car captivated the fans and international media at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Michelin became the first major technical partner for the DeltaWing program announced at last year’s Petit Le Mans and created special four-inch wide front tires to enable the radical vehicle design. By comparison, MICHELIN® front tires for the 2012 Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro measure more than 14 inches wide. The car will race at Road Atlanta “unclassified” making it ineligible for points and awards.

Michelin and its technical partner teams lead the ALMS championships in both of the premier classes heading into Petit Le Mans. The Michelin technical partner Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda team earned six wins during the first nine ALMS events, and needs just a race finish classification to secure the ALMS P1 team, manufacturer, driver and tire championships.

“Road Atlanta is an incredibly demanding circuit,” said Karl Koenigstein, Michelin North American technical leader.  “The teams add downforce to help the cars through the corners, but do not want to carry more aerodynamic drag than absolutely necessary as increasing downforce slows the cars on the long straightaways.”

Mechanical grip, especially tires, will be extremely important according to Koenigstein. “You can only get away with reduced downforce if the tires stay consistent, but if you lose grip as the run progresses, the drivers will have a more difficult time and the lap times will become increasingly inconsistent.”

That is where managing tire loads and temperatures, both traditional Michelin hallmarks, can make a big difference.

“Road Atlanta is one of the fastest and highest load circuits that we race on all year,” said Koenigstein. “This track offers the 'total package' from a tire's point of view -- meaning the tire has to offer exceptional load capacity, temperature resistance, speed capability, wear life, and grip consistency. Miss on any one of those criteria, and your shortcomings will be on display for both the racers and the fans!”

Creating tires that can deliver maximum grip, consistency and long tread life is a challenge for Michelin and its rivals.

In the GT class, Michelin technical partner Corvette Racing has already secured the 2012 ALMS manufacturer, team and driver championships. Michelin teams have taken six GT class victories and 20 of 27 podiums in the nine previous events. Michelin technical partners Corvette Racing (4), Flying Lizard Porsche (1), Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari (1) and the new SRT Vipers will look to secure Michelin’s 13th consecutive ALMS GT tire championship.

“A race of 1,000 miles on a very demanding circuit like Road Atlanta is a fitting way to end the season,” said Koenigstein. “We have raced on a wide variety of courses presenting a number of technical challenges, in races ranging from 2 to 12 hours. The margins of victory are always very tight. Championships and wins in major races like Petit Le Mans, Sebring and Le Mans are always something to appreciate. You have to earn them every lap.”



LMP1 Win

LMP2 Win


GT Win


Peugeot Sport Total

Peugeot 908



Level 5 Motorsports

Lola Honda



PR1 Mathiasen

Oreca FLM09



AF Corse

Ferrari 458 Italia




Team Peugeot Total

Peugeot 908 HDi  FAP



Patron Highcroft Racing




Level 5   Motorsports

Oreca FLM09



Corvette Racing

Corvette C6.R





Peugeot 908 HDi



 Dyson Racing

Lola B09/86 Mazda




Risi Competizione

Ferrari F430 GTC





For more information, visit or contact:                                                                                  

Sachin Deshpandé                                                             John Love

MichelinNorth 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 working with tires, around tires and beyond tires to enable Motion for Life. Dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility and sustainability, Michelin designs and distributes the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its customers’ needs. Michelin provides digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences. Bringing its expertise to new markets, the company is investing in high-technology materials, 3D printing and hydrogen, to serve a wide variety of industries — from aerospace to biotech. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, Michelin North America has approximately 22,500 employees and operates 34 production facilities in the United States and Canada. (