Michelin 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona Preview

January 22, 2020

Michelin 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona Preview

January 22, 2020

Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2020) –Michelin has a nickname for the Daytona International Speedway. They call it “Datatona.”

After racing with just nine GTLM cars in 2018, Michelin had 115 cars here in 2019, as it became the Official Tire of IMSA. Michelin ran more miles at Daytona in 2019 than they had in the entire 2018 season. And that was just the beginning.

Michelin covered the IMSA paddock and pit lane in 2019 with more than 40 engineers and motorsports tire specialists and it paid off with 90 of a possible 114 qualifying and race lap records as teams learned to take advantage of the Michelin technology.

Michelin expects fewer records in 2020, as most of the records have now been set with Michelin tires.

Now with its paddock and technical operations established, Michelin will use the IMSA platform to support more than 20 launches during the year, everything from All Season performance tires, like those on the new C8 Corvettes, to winter tires, long haul truck tires, motorcycle tires, agriculture, mining and aircraft tires and electronic features like its Track Connect offering and the MICHELIN Guides.

Michelin Motorsport Notes Package: Daytona International Speedway

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge

  • Allocations:
    • DPi, 38 sets, IMSA Medium
    • LMP2, 38 sets, IMSA Medium 
    • GT Le Mans, 37 sets, GTLM range
    • GT Daytona, 30 sets, MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT S8M
    • GS, 8 sets, MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT S8M
    • TCR, 6 sets, MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport GT S9M
  • New Motorsports Director: Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard new director, motorsports. Ménard succeeds Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years.
  • Performance that Lasts: The season opening IMSA Prototype Challenge earlier this month provided an extreme example of Michelin durability.  The Nielsen Racing car driven by Garett Grist and Rob Hodes was unable to remove the right rear tire on pits stops, so they ran the entire three-hour race on the same set of Michelin wet tires and finished fifth.
  • Pilots and Michelin Pilots: A century ago, in the early days of the automobile, racing drivers were called “pilots” to distinguish them from chauffeurs who wheeled traditional cars.  Michelin has long referred to race drivers as “pilots” and the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series and the Pilot® family of Michelin high performance tires, including the award winning Pilot® Super Sport, Pilot® Sport All Season 4 and Pilot® Sport Cup 2 continue that tradition.
  • Inch by Inch: In qualifying for pit and garage spots during the Roar Before The 24 event earlier this month, the difference between the top qualifying GTLM class Risi Ferrari of James Calado and the Porsche GT Team’s Nick Tandy was one/one thousandths of a second (0.001) on the 3.56-mile circuit. That is a difference of approximately 2.19 inches on a lap of 225,561 inches. The top car from each of the four GTLM manufacturers, Ferrari, Porsche, Corvette and BMW, clocked laps within a narrow band of just 0.159 seconds.
  • Continued technical partnerships: Michelin works with each GTLM manufacturer to optimize performance as they are completely different cars, teams, chassis, engines, and bespoke Michelin tires tailored to each.
  • New shoes: Michelin has developed both new front and rear tires for the WeatherTech Championship DPi and LMP2 classes. The new tires have a softer construction to deal with the bumps at some of the IMSA circuits as well as a slightly different compound.
  • Less is more: As part of a global initiative to reduce environmental impact and limit costs, Michelin and IMSA have analyzed data from 2019 and reduced the tire allocations for the GTLM class at Daytona. Each GTLM team will be allotted one fewer set of Michelin tires for the 2020 Rolex 24 weekend. This is the first step in a yearlong process with several other reductions occurring at later rounds. Each IMSA GTLM manufacturer (BMW, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche) uses the Michelin proprietary soft, medium, and hard compound option tires tailored to its chassis for 2019/2020 WEC competition which stringently limit tire allocations. All will use the same Michelin wet treaded tire.
  • Plenty of Inventory: Michelin will bring a total of approximately 12,000 tires to Daytona in 2020, including approximately 6,000 wet tires. The 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona featured more than 10 hours of rain or wet conditions.
  • Taking it to The Bank(s): The 31-degree banking at Daytona International Speedway presents a totally unique challenge in wet conditions. The banking dries before the flat infield sections of the 3.56-mile circuit, which produces higher tire temperatures and wear on the treaded right rear wet tires, especially on the DPi and LMP2 prototypes as they speed across the drier surface before entering the still wet infield sections of the circuit. Michelin race tire engineers developed an effective approach at the 2019 race to help teams complete full stints even in mixed conditions.
  • Spreading the Wealth: There were 19 eligible automotive brands in the 2019 IMSA season. Eighteen of them made at least one start. And 17 of them set at least one new qualifying or race lap record. Audi set the most records with 13 established in the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge. In the WeatherTech Championship, Mazda and Porsche set eight new records apiece. In 2020, there are 17 brands competing in IMSA.
  • Miles on Miles: It’s just over 3,000 miles from coast-to-coast across the United States. With more than 175,000 miles completed by Michelin teams in three series in 2019 at Daytona, that was enough for nearly 60 back-and-forth cross-country completed full of IMSA teams just in one race weekend. And that more than 175,000-mile total was more than 80,000 more miles completed in all of 2018, when Michelin raced in just one IMSA class.

How to Watch:

The season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship) and BMW Endurance Challenge (IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge) air on the NBC family of networks.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona starts on network NBC, Saturday, January 25, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The remainder of the race runs between NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.

Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge airs live exclusively on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, Friday, January 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

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