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Michelin Laguna Seca Notebook

Pre-event news and notes from Michelin ahead of IMSA Laguna Seca round…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

The Drop Zone`

They call it “The Corkscrew”, but the steep downhill from turns 8 to 8A is a drop zone as cars quickly descend 5.5 stories in just 450 feet of track length. The entry point to begin the descent is nearly blind to the drivers as they head up the hill before reaching the top of The Corkscrew.

No Minors! Except…

The pit entry sign says, “No minors allowed in pits.”

There are good reasons, most based on safety, and parental supervision.

Envision kids of various ages and sizes running, hiding, playing, touching, taking, texting, and generally being underfoot in an area filled with teams fueling, working on hot race cars, and making pit stops, changing tires and drivers.

For 17-year-old Tyler Gonzalez and 16-year-old Tyler Maxson that sign isn’t a problem.

They drive one of those race cars, the No. 27 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR in the Michelin Pilot Challenge to be exact.
And they drive it quite well.

The two announced their arrival into IMSA competition with a stunning runner-up finish in their Michelin Pilot Challenge debut at Road Atlanta.

So far in the 2021 season, they have scored a solid fourth place finish at Mid-Ohio, added their second podium at Lime Rock, and qualified on the TCR class pole at Lime Rock.

Meet the Family

The IMSA teams compete through the season on tires from the same family of Michelin tire constructions; the difference is in the tread compounds. This approach permits teams to maintain the same baseline chassis set ups when they switch compounds.

“Temperatures are an important factor in determining tire selections, but the level of track surface micro and macro abrasion is an equally important factor,” said Hans Emmel, Michelin WeatherTech Series manager.

Michelin has migrated to its harder tire range at Laguna Seca as the track surface wears and exposes more of the underlying aggregate.

Good Food Goes with Good Racing

With moderate ambient temperatures, and a picturesque setting, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is always a favorite race for teams, fans, and sponsors. The Michelin Guide California lists 20 different Michelin Gourmand rated spots in the Monterey, Carmel, and Carmel Valley area.

Home Sweet Home

This weekend, the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge features a dozen drivers born or living in California and is a home race of sorts for Dane Cameron, Kenny Murillo, Mark Siegel, Tom Dyer, Mason Fillipi, Jon Morley, and Jeff Westphal.

Track Records

Many drivers love the fast, flowing nature of Laguna Seca. One of them is Katherine Legge, the track lap record holder in GTD.
Here are your current IMSA track lap record holders:

DPi: Ricky Taylor/1:15.035/2019
LMP2: Kyle Masson/1:16.817/2019
GTLM: Jordan Taylor/1:21.483/2020
GTD: Katherine Legge/1:24.456/2018
GS: Tyler McQuarrie/1:30.400/2020
TCR: Michael Lewis/1:33.105/2019

DPi: Juan Pablo Montoya/1:16.661/2019
LMP2: Simon Trummer/1:17.422/2020
GTLM: Tommy Milner/1:22.498/2019
GTD: Alvaro Parente/ 1:25.065/2018
GS: Corey Lewis/1:31.256/2020
TCR: James Vance/1:34.040/2020

Tight Standings

As the season winds down, not many points separate drivers in the series standings in certain classes. In DPI, Ricky Taylor and Felipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing are ahead by 41 points over Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr of Whelen Engineering Racing. Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell of Mazda Motorsports trail by 43 points.

Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports lead the LMP2 class by 58 points over WIN Autosport’s Steven Thomas and Tristan Nunez. In GTD, Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley of Tuner Motorsport lead Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn of Heart of Racing Team by just 18 points.

The latest news, photos and video features from the trusted Sportscar365 web staff.

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