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Michelin VIR Notebook

Pre-event news, stats from Michelin ahead of Michelin GT Challenge weekend at VIR…

Photo: Michelin

Keys to Success at VIR

The 3.27-mile, 18-turn Virginia International Raceway calls for momentum and consistency from cars and their drivers. That means carrying speed and flow from one sector to the next as well as being able to maintain that rhythm and flow lap after lap throughout a full stint.

The formula seems straightforward, but the technical demands of the circuit make the execution difficult.

Getting Late

The Michelin GT Challenge marks the second to last race in the 2021 IMSA season. In GT Le Mans – the No. 3 Corvette C8.R with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor have a 160-point lead over the charging No. 4 Corvette. Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy have won the last two races.

Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R hold a 32-point lead in GT Daytona over the No. 1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Paul Miller Racing driven by Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow.

Bill Auberlen Loves VIR

The winningest driver in IMSA has the most Michelin GT Challenge weekend wins in the 2021 field with six. The last two both came in 2020 as he and co-driver Robby Foley won the WeatherTech Championship GTD class and the Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class.

“We are heading to VIR, which is such an amazing racetrack, and it always seems to suit the BMW’s. I always really look forward to it and this year is no exception,” said Auberlen.

The No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW led the GTD standings heading into Long Beach but dropped to fourth after a 16th place finish.

Track to Street Tire Technology

The Michelin Pilot Sport tire will be used in four out of five classes this weekend across the WeatherTech Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge, and Prototype Challenge. The technology developed on track is used to help design the Michelin Pilot Sport family of street tires.

A Favorite Trophy

Drivers enjoy visiting VIR for the track but also for what comes with a successful finish. Placing on the podium gets racers one of the most unique trophies in IMSA. The hardware features the Michelin Man holding a checkered flag. This tradition started in 2016—when the race became the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.

The 3D printed trophies are hand painted in gold, silver, and bronze. Nearly four dozen of the Michelin Man trophies will be presented over the weekend.

Racing In Their Backyard

Team Hardpoint didn’t need to travel hundreds of miles to this race—more like hundreds of feet. The team that operates the No. 88 Porsche in GTD is based out of VIR! Drivers Katherine Legge and Rob Ferriol hope to use the familiarity to their advantage.

You can also see Team Hardpoint competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America as well.

Track Records

GTLM/Earl Bamber/1:40.638/2019
GTD/Toni Vilander/1:44.710/2019
GS/Ross Gunn/1:52.740/2019
TCR/Stephen Simpson/1:56.597/2019

GTLM/Joey Hand/1:40.211/2017
GTD/Jeroen Mul/1:43.391/2017
GS/Russell Ward/1:53.369/2020
TCR/Max Faulkner/1:57.260/2020

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

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