Michelin heads into the Rolex 24 At Daytona, (January 27-28 on FOX, FS1 and FS2) the opening round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with two major objectives.
The first objective is to help the Michelin technical partner teams from BMW Team RLL, Chevrolet Corvette, Risi Competizione Ferrari, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, and Porsche GT Team perform at the highest possible level throughout the grueling 24 hour race.
“We are very focused on this week’s race,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsports, Michelin North America.
“With its heavy factory involvement, the GTLM class is one of the most competitive classes in international motorsports and our technical partners all want the prestigious win at the Rolex 24. We work closely with each team to provide them with the tires, technical support, and services that they need to perform at their best.”
Warm days, Cool night
“The conditions are expected to be a bit warmer than we saw during the IMSA tests earlier this month, but the track temperatures will drop fairly quickly after sunset (5:58pm) on Saturday,” said Payne.
“Racing at Daytona in January, means that over 13 hours of the 24 hour race take place at night in cool or even cold temperatures. So our engineers will be working with the teams throughout the race on tire selection and stint strategies.”
The Countdown for 2019 is underway
The second, and perhaps less visible objective, is to lay substantial groundwork for the 2019 IMSA season when Michelin will become the official tire of all three IMSA WeatherTech Championship classes, adding the Prototype and GT Daytona (GTD) class entries to its current GT Le Mans class entries.
In addition, Michelin will become the exclusive tire maker for what will become the Michelin SportsCar Challenge and the IMSA Prototype (LMP3) Challenge.
Michelin will host a pair of informational meetings with IMSA manufacturers and team managers during the Daytona race weekend.
“We are working in close collaboration with IMSA to provide day after event opportunities for IMSA teams to run with our Michelin IMSA tires on key IMSA tracks during the 2018 season,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America.
In addition, Payne and his cadre of Michelin engineers will take advantage of the 24 hour race to conduct on-site training for some of the additional race tire engineers who will join their ranks in 2019.