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Michelin Endurance Challenge Notebook

Pre-event news and notes ahead of Michelin Endurance Challenge at Road Atlanta…

Photo: Michelin

Ahead of the Michelin Endurance Challenge weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Michelin provides pre-race statistics, notes and data.

Tire Allocations:
WeatherTech Championship
DPi, 14 sets, IMSA Hard
LMP2, 14 sets, IMSA Hard
GT Le Mans, 14 sets, GTLM range
GT Daytona, 9 sets, Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M

Michelin Pilot Challenge
GS – 7 Sets, Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M
TCR – 6 Sets, Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M+/S9M

Michelin Names: There are a bevy of Michelin names this weekend. Here’s quick descriptions of each:
*Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta: Venue
*Michelin Endurance Challenge: Weekend Name
*Michelin Endurance Cup: Championship within the WeatherTech Championship
*Michelin Pilot Challenge: Series name
*Michelin Tower: Tower name
*Michelin Pilot Sport GT: Race tires
* Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta: WeatherTech race name

Endurance Double: With two endurance races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, a total of 16 of 52 hours of the Endurance Cup will be held at the same track. Michelin engineers will be observing closely to see what they can learn in preparation of Petit Le Mans at the same track in October. Background: Michelin retail partner, Tire Rack, has agreed to be the entitlement sponsor of Saturday’s WeatherTech championship race to be called Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. This will be Tire Rack’s first entitlement of an IMSA race, but they did participate earlier this year as a sponsor of the IMSA iRacing Series competition at virtual VIR. Michelin has worked closely with Tire Rack to help them promote their brand and host nearly 100 partners at the race this weekend.

Recent Michelin Raceway Winners: Automotive brands to win with Michelin at Michelin Raceway since the IMSA merger (2014) include Porsche (2014, 2015 overall and 2018), BMW (2017) and Risi Ferrari (2016 and 2019) in GTLM. Additionally, Ford (GS) and Hyundai (TCR) won the Michelin Pilot Challenge race here last year.

Endurance Extras: With third drivers required in LMP2 and GTD, most of the WeatherTech Championship field (19 of 29 cars total) is opting to add an extra driver on the Michelin Endurance Challenge weekend. Meanwhile, only three GS teams will run a third driver in Pilot Challenge.

Double Duty Drivers: Stephen Simpson, Colin Braun, Spencer Pumpelly, Corey Lewis, Trent Hindman, Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and Jeff Westphal are the drivers running in both Michelin series this weekend and bouncing between paddocks.

Four-Hour Race Win Streak: Dylan Murry and Jim Cox enter this weekend’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race in search of their fourth consecutive IMSA sanctioned four-hour race victory. Murry and Cox won the 2019 four-hour race at Watkins Glen International, the four-hour non-points Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring International Raceway, and the four-hour 2020 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Jeroen Bleekemolen drove with Murry and Cox at both Watkins Glen and Daytona. Colin Braun joins Murry and Cox the No. 35 Riley Mercedes-AMG GT4 lineup this week.

Four Seeking Five: Corvette Racing enters this race in search of its fifth consecutive GTLM victory. If either the No. 3 or No. 4 Corvette C8.R emerges victorious, it would match Porsche’s 2019 class record of five straight wins (Sebring, Long Beach, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, CTMP). Corvette Racing last won five races in a row in 2008, a year where the team competed unopposed over the full 11-race American Le Mans Series season in the former GT1 class with the C6.R. Surprisingly, Corvette Racing hasn’t won at Michelin Raceway since securing a dramatic last lap victory in 2010.

Hyundai’s TCR Quest for Four: Bryan Herta Autosport’s Hyundai Veloster N TCRs have won three straight TCR races in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series. In 2018, Ford won four straight GS races across a couple different teams, while Audi won all 10 TCR races. Audi kicked off that streak with in 2018 when Compass Racing won the first five races in TCR from Daytona through CTMP.

The Torque Show: As at the previous four races since IMSA’s return to racing in July, The Torque Show, presented by Michelin, will air live during the weekend from its remote studio in Los Angeles rather than on site. Stay tuned to its social media channels (@TorqueShowLive) for air times.

Social Media Handles: Follow Michelin at VIR with these handles:
Facebook: @MichelinUSA
Twitter: @MichelinUSA and @MichelinRaceUSA
Instagram: @MichelinUSA

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