Following meetings with manufacturers and team representatives at Daytona, we check in with Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America, for a multi-part series outlining Michelin’s preparations for the 2019 IMSA season.
Part two will follow on Monday, with a look ahead to Michelin’s on-track opportunities for teams scheduled throughout 2018.
Where does Michelin currently compete and can you characterize the scope of Michelin’s plans for when you become the official tire of IMSA in 2019?
“Michelin currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the FIA World Rally Championship, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and the FIM MotoGP World Championship.
“Beginning in 2019 we will add the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype and GTD classes, the Michelin SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge. This will become the largest motorsport program that we have ever undertaken in North America.”
Why did Michelin pursue this opportunity?
“We see significant growth and opportunity in IMSA. There are 17 manufacturers or marques currently competing here. We see this an opportunity to grow our mainstream business with enthusiasts who share our passion for performance. We are committed to working hard and creatively helping IMSA continue to grow and expect that Michelin will benefit from their growth. We are not here simply to sell some tires to racers.”
How is Michelin beginning to prepare for IMSA 2019?
“We have created seven work stream teams to lead our supply chain, technical support, race operations, business-to-business, partnership and business-to-consumer marketing, and both internal and external communications.”