Michelin readies for an extra-large Petit Le Mans racing weekend

Jan. 1, 2020
They call it the "Petit Le Mans," but the 10-Hour/1000- mile race at the hilly, 2.54-mile, red-clay-lined circuit in northern Georgia looms large for Michelin and its racing teams.
They call it the "Petit Le Mans," but the 10-Hour/1000- mile race at the hilly, 2.54-mile, red-clay-lined circuit in northern Georgia looms large for Michelin and its racing teams.

The final race of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season and penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) brings together a wide array of cars, teams and drivers; championships will be decided.

Bringing a deeper field than most of the other ALMS season events, Michelin is the technical partner for 34 entrants in the 58-car field, which includes representatives of 13 major vehicle manufacturers and drivers from 22 countries.

Road Atlanta is much shorter (2.54-miles vs. 8.469- miles) than the 24 Hours of Le Mans for which this race is named. Along with the shorter circuit, different rules for pit stops will impact race strategy. ALMS rules permit two pit guns and four crew members to change tires compared with one gun and two crewmen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“The extended runs – like five stints on one set of MICHELIN tires for Audi and three for Corvette at Le Mans – are far less likely here,” says Karl Koenigstein, Michelin’s ALMS technical team leader. “The shorter track and ALMS pit rules will result in faster and more frequent pit stops.”

Leading the attack in the Michelin Prototype category are Audi Team Joest, winner of the 24 Hour of Le Mans in June; Peugeot Sport Total, which leads the ILMC championship; Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing, winners of four ALMS races this season; and Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot, winners of the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

Another Michelin technical partner, the Rebellion Toyota team, claimed the win in Sunday’s Le Mans Series event in Estoril, Portugal. Michelin has achieved overall victories in six of the eight ALMS races so far this year and at all five ILMC events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Looking to help Michelin claim its 12th consecutive ALMS GT category tire championship are the Le Mans GT-winning Corvette Racing, the Road America-winning Risi Competizione Ferrari, and the Monterey-winning Flying Lizard Porsche. The ILMC championship-leading AF Corsa Ferrari and Labre Corvette are also Michelin technical partner teams.

“The development cycle for new cars and tires has accelerated dramatically in the past 12 months, and that will make tire management very important for everyone,” says Koenigstein. “At Road Atlanta, a 10-hour race, the track conditions tend to heat-up throughout the day and then cool in the final two or three hours. You really have to work hard to keep the car matched up to the track for the entire race.”

For more information, visit www.michelinman.com.

Sponsored Recommendations

Best Body Shop and the 360-Degree-Concept

Spanesi ‘360-Degree-Concept’ Enables Kansas Body Shop to Complete High-Quality Repairs

Maximizing Throughput & Profit in Your Body Shop with a Side-Load System

Years of technological advancements and the development of efficiency boosting equipment have drastically changed the way body shops operate. In this free guide from GFS, learn...

ADAS Applications: What They Are & What They Do

Learn how ADAS utilizes sensors such as radar, sonar, lidar and cameras to perceive the world around the vehicle, and either provide critical information to the driver or take...

Banking on Bigger Profits with a Heavy-Duty Truck Paint Booth

The addition of a heavy-duty paint booth for oversized trucks & vehicles can open the door to new or expanded service opportunities.