Action-Packed Grand Prix Highlights Michelin’s Endurance

September 5, 2020

Action-Packed Grand Prix Highlights Michelin’s Endurance

September 5, 2020

There was an exciting start, a dramatic finish, and relentless action throughout as the Grand Prix kicked off the Michelin Endurance Challenge weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

A frantic first hour featured several full course cautions. The race settled into a typical endurance race rhythm with ebbs and flows among the leaders, with some great passes, pit stops and strategy in the middle, culminating with a final two-lap dash to the finish after a late-race incident.

“Our focus here for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship and the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge sports car race is on outstanding performance. Endurance represents a unifying of quality, character, and persistence to produce over an extended period,” said Tony Ménard, director of motorsport, Michelin North America.

“In endurance racing, we see the technologies and innovations that are the result of relentless desire and the ability to overcome all obstacles. Our experience in endurance racing help us to provide the benefits and value of endurance to consumers with our street tires.”

Today’s Grand Prix was run at an intense sprint race pace, with the overall winning DPi car completing 273 laps and 693.42 miles of the 2.54-mile natural terrain circuit. The six-hour race required endurance technical needs and continuously updated race strategies.

Acura swept the DPi and GT Daytona classes, the first time in the brand’s tenure it has done so since entering both classes simultaneously in 2018. BMW won in GT Le Mans, ending Chevrolet Corvette’s four-race class win streak. Mazda, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Lamborghini and Porsche also placed a car on the podium in one of the four classes.

Photo: Michelin North America Grand Prix Post-Race Notes
  • Michelin Tire Tech Tip Minute: Versatility and longevity is key to success during an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup race. It’s also a key for street tires, as evidenced with the recent launch of the new MICHELIN® CrossClimate®2 tire. NBC Sports reporter Dillon Welch explains within this race’s Michelin Tire Tech Tip Minute.
  • 7 Acura Overcomes Adversity: Acura Team Penske’s winning pair of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor fought back from separate pit lane speeding and red light pit exit violations to get back on the lead lap in their No. 7 Acura ARX-05, then charge back through the DPi field to win their second straight DPi race (Road America). This also is the Acura Team Penske’s first Michelin Endurance Cup win in the program history.
  • Acura, Meyer Shank Double Up with GTD Win: Meyer Shank Racing won its second straight six-hour Michelin Endurance Cup race, at a second different venue. After Mario Farnbacher, Trent Hindman and Justin Marks claimed the win last year at Watkins Glen in their No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi claimed the competitive GTD class win today in the same No. 86 car today. The team used pit strategy to carve past intense competitors from Paul Miller Lamborghini and Wright Porsche, who provisionally completed the podium.
  • BMW Back on Top in GTLM: A powerful pass in the last hour allowed BMW Team RLL’s Connor De Phillippi to undercut Nick Tandy’s Porsche and take the GTLM and ultimately class win. De Phillippi, who shared the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE with Bruno Spengler, said: “We pitted on the front of the window, and in general I’m good on out laps on cold tires. The risk was we knew they might come out ahead… but I had to attack. I went for it, and got by the Porsche.”
  • PR1/Mathiasen Wins LMP2: Once its single competitor was caught up in a first-lap incident, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports enjoyed a trouble-free run to a win in LMP2. Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and series debutante Scott Huffaker shared the No. 52 ORECA 07.

Photo: Michelin North America

MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Race on Sunday

Fastest qualifiers for Sunday’s VP Racing Stay Frosty 240, Round 5 of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge season, are below. The race airs Sunday, September 6 at 12:10 p.m. ET on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, with radio commentary from IMSA Radio.

  • GS: Nate Stacy, No. 60 KohR Motorsports, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 1:26.134
  • TCR: Harry Gottsacker, No. 21 Bryan Herta Autosport, Hyundai Veloster N TCR, 1:29.143
Next Up:

After the weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, IMSA heads next to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, September 25-27, 2020.

The WeatherTech Championship, MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and Prototype Challenge series will race there, with MICHELIN Pilot Challenge scheduled to race twice.

All IMSA races air on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio carries all qualifying and races live, flag-to-flag and commercial free.

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