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Michelin Outlines ‘On-Track Opportunities’ for IMSA Teams

Michelin to provide ‘on-track opportunities’ to IMSA teams throughout 2018 season…

Photo: Scott LePage/IMSA

Michelin has outlined the schedule of ‘on-track opportunities’ for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype and GT Daytona teams to sample its tires ahead of the 2019 season.

The French tire giant will become the “Official Tire” of IMSA next year, as part of a new long-term partnership that will also include title sponsorship of the Michelin SportsCar Challenge and Michelin Endurance Cup.

Speaking with Michelin Alley, Chris Baker, the director of motorsports for Michelin North America, said they held productive meetings with teams and partners during last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, as it works to ramp up its involvement heading into next year.

“As we shared with the manufacturers and teams at Daytona, we are working in close collaboration with IMSA to offer on-track opportunities during the course of the 2018 season to help them prepare for 2019,” Baker said.

“We will offer opportunities to try our proposed IMSA tires on key IMSA tracks in relevant climatic conditions.”

Baker said a preliminary plan will see on-track opportunities at Road Atlanta (June 11), Watkins Glen (July 2), Road America (Aug. 6) and Road Atlanta (Oct. 15), along with a to-be-determined spring date at Daytona.

The majority of the sessions will come on the Mondays following WeatherTech Championship events, in order to reduce costs for teams. 

“We will offer invitations to representatives of each team and their associated vehicle or chassis manufacturers in Prototype (DPi/LMP2), GTD, Michelin SportsCar Challenge and LMP3 to run one car at each on track opportunity,” Baker said.

“Each team will be offered the opportunity to participate in at least one on-track day during 2018. Identification of the teams and manufacturers selected for these on-track sessions is being done in partnership with IMSA.

“These opportunities will help teams become familiar with our Michelin tires and our technical and race operations teams to help them prepare for 2019.

“They will also provide IMSA and Michelin with relevant data.”

It’s understood Michelin plans to utilize its newly developed LMP2 tire for the Prototype class, with its proven GT3-based option for GTD teams.

The GT Le Mans class, meanwhile, will remain an open tire format, although it is expected to be made up primarily of Michelin’s existing technical partner teams in 2019.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. daedalus

    February 12, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I fully expect new lap records at all tracks next year. The Michelin LMP2 tyre is as good as the dunlop tyre which was over 3 seconds faster than the contis at the sebring test last year. Same goes for GTD as PWC GT3 times are over 2 sec a lap quicker on average and the michelin GT3 tyre is as good as the pirelli tyre.

    I just hope they bring down the cost of tyres for the teams as they are usually the biggest single expense over the whole season.

    • Mike S

      February 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Agree but some think the biggest cost is Laguna Seca and should be expunged from the series. I lament… glad Michelin is going to be back and is in front of the 8 ball by letting teams have some track time before the transition.

  2. Kyle

    February 12, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    So, will they finally speed up the GTLMs since GTD will have new tires or just further neuter both of them to the same lap times?

  3. Steven

    February 12, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    IMSA should just open up the tire manufactures for every class. Michelin and Dunlop both have extremely solid and dependable racing tires and there should be no reason why there needs to be a sole tire manufacturer for all classes but GTLM.

    • Jordan

      February 12, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      No one is allowed to be better than anyone at anything in IMSA.

      Unlike everything else in life.

      • Jettrd

        February 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm

        Ha ….love it !

      • Travis McBee

        February 12, 2018 at 10:13 pm

        Thought that what was what the ACO was like though?

        • Jordan

          February 14, 2018 at 2:59 pm

          There are tire wars in the WEC.

          Pay attention.

      • Davy

        February 13, 2018 at 12:00 am

        I would rather have a close competition than a needless spending war on tires.

        • Matt

          February 13, 2018 at 5:11 pm

          IMSA can mandate prices for tires. Problem solved. We could have open tire competition easily.

        • Mike S

          February 13, 2018 at 8:38 pm

          Bingo this is why the costs are somewhat controlled by having one manufacturer. Tire war means not sustainable model of racing. Sorry but there has to be some sustainability lets see how general inflation in the economy affects car counts in 2020 and 2021 but that is so far away who cares right, the economy is great and counts are up. Just enjoy the ride.

      • Kirk

        February 13, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        Even F1 doesn’t have tire competition, and to many F1 is considered the pinnacle of racing.

        • Jordan

          February 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

          But everything else is a competition in F1.

          There are engine wars, chassis wars, aero wars, no BOP, open development (where you show up at each race with a faster car than the previous race or you get left behind), open spending wars where money is no object, and competition between full fledged factory efforts and the world’s greatest privateers to see who can build the best car.

    • Pierce

      February 12, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Look at Aston Martin the last 2 years in the WEC. You can see how problematic BOP was having to consider tire performance. Most GT3 series are single tire except the Nurburgring 24 hours and teams flip flop on what tire works best there.

  4. 4cyl Grenade

    February 13, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Unfortunately the cost of the tires is going up for teams in 2019 with the tire manufacturer change. IMSA has no care to control costs for teams. They just give the public the illusion that they care.

  5. Jason

    February 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Wonder if these tests will be open to public?

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