SEBRING, Fla. March 15, 2017 – Ken Payne, technical director for Michelin motorsports North America, will share the advice that he offers the Michelin technical partner teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with all of the drivers and teams in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (March 18).
Payne reminds the Michelin technical partner GT Le Mans (GTLM) class teams from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Porsche GT Team, to simply “respect the bumps,” on the notoriously bumpy 3.74 mile, 17 turn circuit in central Florida.
“The bumps can definitely upset the handling of the car, as hitting a bump changes the tire contact patch loading and it can be enough for the driver to miss the braking point or corner entry,” said Payne.
“You can try to drive around the bumps in some places, but with a big 46 car field and 12 hours, you are going to be in traffic and hit them all at some point,” said Payne.
“Tires, especially the sidewall, take a lot of abuse with the bumps, loads and heat here at Sebring,” said Payne. “Having a robust tire construction that maintains performance over full stints is highly important.”
To reinforce the importance of the bumps, Michelin, the only tire maker ever inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame and the official tire of Sebring International Raceway, will promote the track’s hashtag; #RespectTheBumps.
The GTLM class is the only WeatherTech Championship class with open tire competition. Each of the GTLM teams has selected the specific Michelin cool and medium track temperature range front and rear tires options to optimize their performance in what is always a rugged test of cars, drivers, teams and tires.
Track temperatures can change by as much as 40 or even 50 degrees during the course of the race and the track grip level also evolves throughout the race.
The Michigan-based Corvette Racing team is the defending Sebring race GTLM champion, having won at Sebring a stunning 10 times, including 2015 and 2016.
Based in Indianapolis, the Ford GTs of Chip Ganassi Racing arrive fresh from victory at the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener to pair with its 2016 victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Risi Competizione Ferrari, a three time winner at Sebring, finished third in GTLM at Daytona. Combined with its win in the 2016 season ending 10 Hours of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and second place finish at Le Mans, the veteran Houston-based team has a podium at the last three majors.
With its IMSA factory team based in South Carolina, the Porsche GT Team will look to take the new Porsche 911 RSR to victory at Sebring, just as its predecessor did in 2014. The new Porsche finished a strong second at Daytona.
BMW Team RLL is pushing for its third team win (2011, 2012) at Sebring, and first victory for the BMW M6 GTLM.
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Tune In:
FOX Sports GO Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
FOX Sports 1 Saturday, 12:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.