Michelin delivers for BMW in Monterey

September 9, 2018

Michelin delivers for BMW in Monterey

September 9, 2018

Michelin pace, consistency and durability helped BMW Team RLL and Porsche GT Team take the long way home to success, running massive 77-minute, 54-lap stints to finish 1-2 in the two-hour, 40-minute race today here at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey.

Fresh from BMW Team RLL’s first global victory for the new BMW M8 GTE, Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi backed up their recent success at the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway with a second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class win here in Monterey.

Finishing second on a similar strategy was Porsche’s Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor. Corvette Racing’s GTLM class championship leaders Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen finished third.

Tackling, taming a tough Laguna Seca track

The 2.238-mile Laguna Seca circuit features major elevation changes and a highly worn track surface that has exposed its polished aggregate, which makes tire choice and management absolutely key.

“Laguna Seca is a high degradation circuit and with just our four factory teams in the GTLM class, we were closely watching the performance of our competitor’s cars in other series and classes,” said Ken Payne, technical director, motorsport, Michelin North America.

“Many cars in other series were showing big drop offs in performance after just a handful of laps, but both BMW and Porsche ran a consistent pace, even while they were stretching fuel.”

De Phillippi knew he was on a fuel saving strategy from the start of his final stint. He had the tires to match throughout that final run.

“We were on save fuel strategy from the very beginning of my stint. We had really good pace throughout the stint. There wasn’t a big difference between pushing and saving,” De Phillippi said.

“It was the longest (stint) we’d done. We hoped, fingers crossed the tires would last, but they certainly did – just like at VIR. To go over an hour (1:17) on the tires and they still held strong. No issues at all. Big thanks to Michelin for making a great tire.”

Another podium run for No. 3 Corvette car

Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia scored their seventh consecutive podium finish in third place and hold a nine-point lead in the driver’s championship. It’s the Corvette Racing team’s eighth straight podium finish.

Meanwhile, Ford holds a ten point lead over Chevrolet in the manufacturer’s championship.

On to the Finale

The final race of the 2018 WeatherTech Championship, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, on October 13 will determine the manufacturer, team and driver titles.

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