ALTON, Va. August 23, 2016 – Michelin and its powerful technical partner teams have extra incentives as they head to this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, the only race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship that exclusively features the Production based GT category.
“The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is a rare opportunity to provide the GT cars the chance for an overall race win,” said Sarah Robinson, motorsports marketing manager, Michelin North America.
“VIR is a fast, flowing, challenging track and an ideal place for the GTLM and Pro-Am based GT Daytona (GTD) teams and drivers to make their moves in the WeatherTech Championship,” said Robinson. With just three races remaining, the 2016 respective manufacturer, team and driver season championships are all still very much in play in both classes.
Heading the field are the factory linked Michelin technical partner GT Le Mans (GTLM) entries from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Porsche North America.
The level of competition in the GTLM class is amongst the best in the world as proven by the GTLM sweep of the corresponding (GTE-Pro) class podium at the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans in France earlier this summer. There, the new Ford GTs finished first and third and Risi Competizione Ferrari finished second.
The 3.27 mile, 17-turn natural terrain VIRginia International Raceway circuit is also very familiar territory for Michelin.
“We know VIR well as we test both production car and race car tires here,” said Robinson. “VIR is both a technical track and a driver’s track as it rewards excellence and exposes any shortcomings. It is a fun, but very challenging track to drive.”
“You have to earn your lap times at VIR and tires and car set ups are a big part of that,” said Robinson. “The demands of cornering, braking, and getting the power down with consistency are all quite high and the track will punish poor handling cars or driver errors.”
“Additionally, with the recent repaving at VIR, drivers may discover some subtle changes about the circuit this weekend,” said Robinson. “Fresh pavement often yields mixed emotions for drivers and engineers, alike – the optimism of higher grip and good tire wear life, mixed with the hopes that your favorite track features are still there and the desire to find new track ‘secrets’… it all adds another element of discovery this weekend.”
VIR is not only highly popular with drivers, it is a favorite venue for car clubs, car corrals, production car enthusiasts and families looking to see great racing in a relaxed setting.
The two-hour 40-minute race on Sunday will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.
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 also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs more than 22,650 and operates 20 major manufacturing plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.