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.