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Michelin Pilot Challenge

Michelin Daytona Notebook

Pre-race statistics, news and notes from Michelin ahead of IMSA season-opening weekend…

Photo: Michelin

Ahead of this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and Friday’s first round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, Michelin provides key pre-race statistics, notes and data for the two endurance races to kick off the 2020 IMSA seasons.

Tire Allocations:
DPi, 38 sets, IMSA Medium
LMP2, 38 sets, IMSA Medium
GT Le Mans, 37 sets, GTLM range
GT Daytona, 30 sets, MICHELIN Pilot Sport GT S8M
GS, 8 sets, Michelin Pilot Sport GT S8M
TCR, 6 sets, Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M

New Motorsports Director: Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard new director, motorsports. Ménard succeeds Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years.

Performance that Lasts: The season opening IMSA Prototype Challenge earlier this month provided an extreme example of Michelin durability. The Nielsen Racing car driven by Garett Grist and Rob Hodes was unable to remove the right rear tire on pits stops, so they ran the entire three-hour race on the same set of Michelin wet tires and finished fifth.

Pilots and Michelin Pilots: A century ago, in the early days of the automobile, racing drivers were called “pilots” to distinguish them from chauffeurs who wheeled traditional cars. Michelin has long referred to race drivers as “pilots” and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series and the Pilot family of Michelin high performance tires, including the award winning Pilot Super Sport, Pilot Sport All Season 4 and Pilot Sport Cup 2 continue that tradition.

Inch by Inch: In qualifying for pit and garage spots during the Roar Before The 24 event earlier this month, the difference between the top qualifying GTLM class Risi Ferrari of James Calado and the Porsche GT Team’s Nick Tandy was one/one thousandths of a second (0.001) on the 3.56-mile circuit.

That is a difference of approximately 2.19 inches on a lap of 225,561 inches. The top car from each of the four GTLM manufacturers, Ferrari, Porsche, Corvette and BMW, clocked laps within a narrow band of just 0.159 seconds.

Continued Technical Partnerships: Michelin works with each GTLM manufacturer to optimize performance as they are completely different cars, teams, chassis, engines, and bespoke Michelin tires tailored to each.

New Shoes: Michelin has developed both new front and rear tires for the WeatherTech Championship DPi and LMP2 classes. The new tires have a softer construction to deal with the bumps at some of the IMSA circuits as well as a slightly different compound.

Less is More: As part of a global initiative to reduce environmental impact and limit costs, Michelin and IMSA have analyzed data from 2019 and reduced the tire allocations for the GTLM class at Daytona. Each GTLM team will be allotted one fewer set of Michelin tires for the 2020 Rolex 24 weekend.

This is the first step in a yearlong process with several other reductions occurring at later rounds.

Each IMSA GTLM manufacturer (BMW, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche) uses the Michelin proprietary soft, medium, and hard compound option tires tailored to its chassis for 2019/2020 WEC competition which stringently limit tire allocations. All will use the same Michelin wet treaded tire.

Plenty of Inventory: Michelin will bring a total of approximately 12,000 tires to Daytona, including approximately 6,000 wet tires. The 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona featured more than 10 hours of rain or wet conditions.

Taking it to The Bank(s): The 31-degree banking at Daytona International Speedway presents a totally unique challenge in wet conditions. The banking dries before the flat infield sections of the 3.56-mile circuit, which produces higher tire temperatures and wear on the treaded right rear wet tires, especially on the DPi and LMP2 prototypes as they speed across the drier surface before entering the still wet infield sections of the circuit.

Michelin race tire engineers developed an effective approach at the 2019 race to help teams complete full stints even in mixed conditions.

Spreading the Wealth: There were 19 eligible automotive brands in the 2019 IMSA season. Eighteen of them made at least one start. And 17 of them set at least one new qualifying or race lap record. Audi set the most records with 13 established in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. In the WeatherTech Championship, Mazda and Porsche set eight new records apiece. In 2020, there are 17 brands competing in IMSA.

Miles on Miles: It’s just over 3,000 miles from coast-to-coast across the United States. With more than 175,000 miles completed by Michelin teams in three series in 2019 at Daytona, that was enough for nearly 60 back-and-forth cross-country completed full of IMSA teams just in one race weekend. And that more than 175,000-mile total was more than 80,000 more miles completed in all of 2018, when Michelin raced in just one IMSA class.

New Endurance Cup Trophy: There will be new Michelin Endurance Cup trophies revealed on Sunday for those class winners at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Watching the Weather: Last year, there was consistent rain all Sunday, with an early checkered flag as a result. The lowest ambient and track temperatures recorded by Michelin engineers were 56 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, in Hours 10 and 16. The highest ambient and track temperatures were at the race start, 62 and 68 degrees. The ambient temperatures are headed for the mid-to-high 60s, but still with degrees of fluctuation.

Social Media Handles: Follow Michelin at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with these handles:

Facebook: @MichelinUSA
Twitter: @MichelinUSA and @MichelinRaceUSA
Instagram: @MichelinUSA
Web: michelinracingusa.com

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