Michelin ready to make history at Sebring again
The opening race of the 2007 American Le Mans Series season is America's most historic sports car race, the Twelve Hours of Sebring. It may again be the scene for another big slice of motorsports racing history for Michelin and its technical partner teams.
Michelin made history in 2006 when the Audi R10 TDI, driven by Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen, became the first diesel-powered car to post an overall victory at a major international sports car race. The overall race victory was Kristensen's fourth, also a Sebring record. Michelin also made its own history, becoming the first tire maker in the 54-year history of the Sebring race to score an eighth consecutive overall victory.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING?
The 2007 edition of the Twelve Hours of Sebring may be truly historic:
• Will Acura score its first win in its debut race?
• Will one of American Motorsports' iconic teams – Penske, Dyson, Andretti Green, Lowe's Fernandez or Rahal Letterman – claim a first ever Sebring 12 Hours victory?
• Will Michelin break its own record by scoring its ninth consecutive win at Sebring to match its current win streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
NEW MICHELIN TEAMS
Choosing Michelin as their technical partner as they make their American Le Mans Series competition debuts are some of the premier teams in American racing:
• Andretti Green Racing (#26 Acura-Courage-LMP2)
• Fernandez Racing (#15 Acura-Lola-LMP2)
• Highcroft Racing (#9 Acura-Courage-LMP2)
• Tafel Racing (#71 & #73 Porsche GT2)
• Rahal Letterman Racing (#18 Porsche GT2)
• Corsa Motorsports/White Lightning Racing (#32 Ferrari F430 GT-GT2)
CHANGING HORSES, NOT TIRES
Changing horses, but not tires, are two of sports car racing's most successful teams, the Dyson Racing squad, which has switched from LMP1 class Lola/AERs to the impressive new Porsche RS Spyders (#16 and #20) in the LMP2 class, and GT2 class powerhouse Petersen/White Lightning Racing (#31), which switches from a Porsche 911 to a Ferrari F430 GT2. Both will continue as Michelin technical partners in 2007.
"We are honored that so many premier manufacturers and teams have chosen Michelin to be their technical partner. We are committed to helping every one of our partners to be successful in 2007," said Silvia Mammone, motorsports manager for Michelin North America, Inc.
Despite competition from five other tire makers, Michelin partner teams won every manufacturer, team, driver and tire championship in the 2006 American Le Mans Series competition. All of the 2006 championship teams return to competition with Michelin for the 2007 season:
• The LMP1 championship-winning Audi R10 TDI diesels of Champion Racing (#1 and #2) will return to where they began their historic march to victories at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin and Audi have teamed with great success, including six wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and seven consecutive victories in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
• Defending the LMP2 class championships earned in their first full season of ALMS competition will be a new pair of Porsche RS Spyders entered by Penske Racing (#6 and #7).
• Returning to defend their GT1 championships are the powerful Corvette C6.Rs (#3 and #4) of Pratt & Miller Racing, winners of the last six series championships.
• Also returning with Michelin are the 2006 GT2 team champions, Risi Competizione, which scored impressive wins at Salt Lake City, Portland, Mosport and Laguna Seca while the GT2 driver champion Jorg Bergmeister has ironically teamed with his primary championship rival, Johannes Van Overbeek in the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche 911.