Michelin drivers 'go asymmetrical' for balanced Lime Rock runs

Jan. 1, 2020
Being the closest thing to an oval track on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) schedule, Connecticut?s Lime Rock Park ? site of the July 24 Northeast Grand Prix ? requires an innovative approach by racers running on Michelin rubber.

Being the closest thing to an oval track on the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) schedule, Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park – site of the July 24 Northeast Grand Prix – requires an innovative approach by racers running on Michelin rubber.

“The keys to success at Lime Rock are choosing the right tires for each corner of the car and finding the right balance of performance for all of the variables that the track throws at you,” says Karl Koenigstein, Michelin’s ALMS technical team leader. “You can’t afford to compromise on a setup at Lime Rock because it is so easy to go a lap down.”

Lime Rock is both the shortest and quickest track of the ALMS season. The nature of the 1.53-mile surface means that teams must be aggressive through every inch of the roadway to maintain, gain, or protect track position, especially in traffic given this weekend’s record-setting 36-car field, according to Koenigstein.

“The character and flow of the track, with a clockwise direction and mostly right hand turns means that a simply standard road racing setup and tire choice may not be successful,” he points out.

“If you set up for the predominately right hand turns, you will be vulnerable on the lefts and the chicanes. If you go with too soft a tire compound, you will be vulnerable on longer runs,” says Koenigstein. “That is why I expect that most of our Michelin technical partner teams will choose an asymmetric approach on tire compounds, or camber settings or tire pressures to help find the right balance of performance for the race.”

Points will be at a premium at Lime Rock as the two-hour and 45-minute race marks the mid-point of the 2010 ALMS season with championship battles fully joined and a post-Le Mans schedule packing five events into an eight-week span.

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“A deep and powerful GT category championship battle is especially tight as Risi Ferrari’s Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni moved into the driver championship lead at the recent Utah Grand Prix over previous leaders, Flying Lizard Porsche’s Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Despite both teams’ success,” Koenigstein reports, “it is the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team that leads the GT class manufacturers’ championship.”

Michelin’s racers have won all six ALMS races held at Lime Rock Park and 19 out of a total of 23 classes.

For more information, visit www.michelinman.com.

 

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