SEBRING, Fla. (Mar. 15, 2014) – Michelin technical partner factory teams from Porsche North America, SRT Viper, BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Krohn Ferrari combined to lead every GT Le Mans (GTLM) class lap, win the class pole, take the top four positions and set fastest race lap in today’s 62nd running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Taking the victory was the #912 Porsche North America factory team Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Long, Joerg Bergmeister, and pole winner Michael Christensen as it led a Michelin Porsche, SRT Viper, BMW, Ferrari foursome to the checkered flag.
Eight of the ten Michelin GT Le Mans class cars, including all five manufacturers, led the class at various stages on the historic 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit, notorious for its high speed layout, relentlessly bumpy track surface and highly enthusiastic fans.
“Sebring is very difficult test of cars, engines, drivers, teams and tires,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director for Michelin North America. “All six of our Michelin technical partner teams led the race at one stage or another. We are pleased that we could help our teams and drivers perform at a very high level in changing conditions.”
“From a tire perspective, we needed to have tires that were compliant over the bumps, provided good grip on acceleration and braking, and deliver consistent and extended wear,” said Payne.
The GTLM class is the only class in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship permitting open tire competition.
The race was marred by eleven caution periods for a total of over five hours. “It was hard for the teams to establish a rhythm in the first half of the race due to all the caution periods, but the middle stages provided some longer green flag runs and, with an hour to go, the top five cars were all in position to win,” said Payne.
Finishing second in GTLM was the SRT Viper GTS-R of Jonathan Bomarito, Kuno Wittmer and Rob Bell. Completing the Michelin sweep of the class podium was the BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE driven by Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Andy Priaulx. Leading at key stages late in the race before finishing fourth was the Krohn Racing Ferrari driven by Andrea Bertolini, Nick Jonsson and Tracy Krohn.
With ambient temperatures reaching 84 degrees in late afternoon, track temperatures ranged from 77 to 113 degrees on a sunny, postcard perfect Florida day.
The overall win went to the Riley Ford DP of Chip Ganassi Racing and drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti.
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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.