Michelin ROAR Post-Test Recap
Michelin ROAR Post-Test Recap
With a substantial increase in car count, personnel and number of tires, Michelin has completed its first event in its new role as Official Tire of IMSA for the 2019 season. This weekend’s ROAR Before the Rolex 24 test allowed Michelin to check off a significant number of items in advance of the Rolex 24 at Daytona race weekend later this month.
The Roar test provided Michelin with an opportunity to work with a significantly greater number of marques, teams and drivers across three different IMSA series: the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge.
While Michelin and IMSA collaborated to have six “On-Track Opportunities” at four tracks during the 2018 season, the Roar test was the first time that nearly full fields in three series all were at one track at the same time.
Significant year-to-year number increase
In 2018, Michelin competed in only the WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans class. This meant at the Roar, Michelin had the chance to work with five marques and nine cars.
A year later, the numbers have grown exponentially. Among the WeatherTech Championship, MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and Prototype Challenge, Michelin was represented in three different series, seven different classes and on more than 100 different cars among more than a dozen different marques.
To support the car count increase, Michelin had 26 of its engineers and Motorsport Tire Specialists (MTS) during the test. Over the weekend, Michelin mounted nearly 5,000 tires.
The GTLM class turned more than 5,000 miles among its nine cars at the 2018 ROAR test. In 2019, Michelin competitors in the three different series turned nearly 50,000 miles. The WeatherTech Championship accounted for roughly half that number of miles, while the two Challenge series bolstered the numbers.
“We enjoyed a successful, productive and detailed ROAR test,” said Chris Baker, Director of Motorsport, Michelin North America.
“This year’s ROAR was the first ‘live fire exercise’ for the 2019 season in our new role as Official Tire of IMSA. This weekend allowed us the chance to continue our data gathering, learning and growth opportunities with so many new members of the IMSA paddock.
“We were pleased with both the quality and quantity of run time throughout our three series, including the first official race of the 2019 season in IMSA Prototype Challenge. We had an opportunity to work with some of these teams at the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring in November, and we grew further this weekend.”
Mazda, Michelin reunite and produce immediate chemistry
Mazda Team Joest frequently led the DPi and overall time sheets during the ROAR test, including posting an unofficial lap record at the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. Test lap times are unofficial. Drivers can set official records in qualifying and the race at the Rolex 24 race weekend. Driver Oliver Jarvis expanded on Mazda’s return to testing with Michelin this weekend.
“We’ve come here with a Michelin tire that’s absolutely fantastic,” Jarvis said. “It was a joy to drive. In that low fuel configuration, the combination of the car and tires felt incredible. It was a great feeling to get everything out of the car.”
ANSA wins first IMSA Prototype Challenge race
ANSA Motorsports continued its winning run of form in IMSA Prototype Challenge competition, the first official race of the 2019 season. ANSA won the most recent LMP3 race at the Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore in November at Sebring. On Saturday, Neil Alberico and Leo Lamelas shared the winning Ligier LMP3 car.
“Our engine was broken but the team did an amazing job to put in a new one. I loved the Michelin tires this race. This has helped the category grow a bit,” Lamelas said.
Return for Rolex 24 later this month
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge will be back in Daytona later this month for the first races of their 2019 season.
The first ever MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race is a four-hour endurance race that occurs on Friday, January 25.
Meanwhile the Rolex 24 at Daytona marks both the first WeatherTech Championship race of the season, and first race of the renamed Michelin Endurance Cup. That race begins Saturday, January 26. The race airs on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App.