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.”

PREVIOUS PETIT LE MANS WINNERS 

YEAR

LMP1 Win

LMP2 Win

LMPC Win

GT Win

2011

Peugeot Sport Total

Peugeot 908

Montagny/Sarrazin/Wurz

Michelin

Level 5 Motorsports

Lola Honda

Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa

Michelin

PR1 Mathiasen

Oreca FLM09

Dobson/Richard/Lewis

Michelin

AF Corse

Ferrari 458 Italia

Fisichella/Bruni/Kaffer

Michelin

2010

Team Peugeot Total

Peugeot 908 HDi  FAP

Sarrazin/Montagny/Lamy

Michelin

Patron Highcroft Racing

HPD ARX-01c

Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti

Michelin

Level 5   Motorsports

Oreca FLM09

Tucker/Werner/Frisselle

Michelin

Corvette Racing

Corvette C6.R

Gavin/Magnussen/Collard

Michelin

2009

Peugeot

Peugeot 908 HDi

Sarrazin/Montagny

Michelin

 Dyson Racing

Lola B09/86 Mazda

Leitzinger/Franchitti/Devlin

Michelin

N/A

Risi Competizione

Ferrari F430 GTC

Melo/Kaffer/Salo

Michelin

 

###

For more information, visit www.michelinmedia.com or contact:                                                                                  

Sachin Deshpandé                                                             John Love

MichelinNorth America                                                     EMC Strategic Communications

office: 1 416 576 0226                                                      office: 1 248 816 0106

sachin.deshpande@ca.michelin.com                              mobile: 1 313 506 2114

                                                                                                john@emcstrategic.com

 

 

 

0 Comments
Be the first to comment.
Leave a Comment

About

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. (michelinman.com)