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Michelin Mid-Ohio Notebook

Michelin’s pre-event notebook ahead of Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Mid-Ohio is Cool, Really Cool: Weather forecasts for Mid-Ohio race weekend call for cool conditions with high temperatures in the 60’s on Friday and Saturday and a high temperature of just 63 degrees on Sunday.

With evening temperatures dropping into the high 30’s on Thursday evening and low 40’s on Friday and Saturday evenings, the early morning on track sessions will be especially cool.

The Michelin Pilot Challenge has its first practice session at 9:15 a.m. on Friday, while the Mazda MX-5 teams will qualify at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. The WeatherTech Championship warm-up is set for 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Ready to Sprint: At just two-hours and 40 minutes duration, the Acura Sports Car Challenge presented by TLX Type S is the first sprint race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. Race strategies are typically more aggressive than in the much longer races and any mistakes tend to carry a bigger price as there is less time to recover.

Most DPi teams are likely to break the race into four fairly equal stints, meaning three pit stops, while the GTD teams often take advantage their greater fuel range and try to do the race on just two stops.

The 2020 DPi class race saw lap times in the 72-second bracket and the GTD class in the 81-82 second range. That pace will see the race leaders encountering traffic after just seven laps and makes it easy to go a lap, or even two laps down for any unscheduled stops or penalties.

Keeping Track: Track position is important on the technically demanding 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio circuit. The aging track surface is known to change grip levels during the course of a race. That makes consistency throughout a full stint a priority.

Many team members, engineers, and former drivers in the IMSA paddock have long experience at Mid-Ohio, a few reaching back 40 or even 50 years. Meanwhile, several of IMSA’s impressive crop of younger drivers were born just a year or two before the track surface was last repaved in 2006.

Tire Allocations: Mid-Ohio is the first Sprint race of the year, so tire allocations are adjusted accordingly.

WeatherTech Championship
DPi 9 sets – IMSA Medium
LMP3 6 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S8M
GTD 6 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M

Michelin Pilot Challenge
GS 5 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M
TCR 4 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M+

IMSA Prototype Challenge
P3 5 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S8M (fronts)/S9M (Rears)

Now Available: Michelin notes that the Michelin Pilot Sport GT S8M and S9M slicks and wet tires used in GTD and LMP3 classes and the Michelin Pilot Challenge are all commercially available for Club, Vintage, and track day racers. Only the highly proprietary GT Le Mans and the semi-proprietary IMSA DPi tires are not available for purchase.

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