Tire Insider – Dijyano – Lime Rock
Tire Insider – Dijyano – Lime Rock
Larry Jackson is the Michelin race tire engineer working with the 2008 and 2009 American Le Mans Series GT2 champion Flying Lizard Porsche team. Here are his comments on today’s ALMS Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park
Porsche: Lime Rock is a good track for Porsche. The Flying Lizards have won the GT2 class here the past three years. Joerg Bergmeister has actually won here four years in a row. The slow corners and the sweeping corners are good for Porsche and the low-end torque really helps getting a run out of the corners and in traffic.
Weather and Temperatures: Yesterday (Friday), the track was wet all day so our only chance for dry running is the 20-minute practice session this morning. The forecast for today is hot and humid. The ambient (air) temperature is supposed to be about 90-95 degrees and that would put the track temperature in the 110-115 degree range.
Track: This is a very short track (1.53 miles) with mostly right hand turns. The lap times for the GT cars should be in about the 53-second range, but the straight-line speed for the GT, GTC and LMPC classes are all very close. A “gentleman” driver in an LMPC can definitely hold up the GT cars. Pick-up is not usually a big problem here, and the tires stay surprisingly clean.
Tire Choice: At this point (before morning practice), I expect that we will run our Michelin medium compound tires. They have a nice, wide temperature performance range. If we need to help balance the car, we may talk about doing something a little different on the right front tire.
Set Up: The 2010 Porsche has a little different front suspension geometry than last year’s car, and we have new Michelin tires so we can’t totally rely on our old Lime Rock set ups. Camber is the biggest focus, especially on the right rear corner. It’s like the old line that if some is good, too much is better, but too much camber increases wear. We won’t know anything about camber-related wear until we take the first set of tires off the car.
Race Options: All things being equal, which they never are, it would be nice to do the race on two sets of tires, meaning that we would basically double-stint one set. The race strategy and timing will determine how the team wants to play it. The Flying Lizard team always does a great job on pit stops and race strategies.
Track Position: It is so easy to go a lap down here that everyone will be fighting to stay on their respective lead lap. That means even tougher traffic. Restarts under yellows should not be a problem as the Flying Lizard guys are really good at keeping the tires clean and keeping heat in the tires. On new tires, it can take up to five laps to build tire temperatures and pressures.
Competition: The Risi Ferraris have always gone well here, they just haven’t taken the win. I expect then to be very strong. Corvette is hungry, the cars are fast, and they just haven’t had much luck this year. The BMWs struggled in the wet conditions on Friday. They don’t have good starting positions (ninth and 13th in the GT class) but they are fast in the dry. The #17 Porsche is also fast and they are starting near the front so they could be a real factor.
Big Picture: The Flying Lizard team has won the championship the last two years. They start thinking championship from the very first laps of Sebring. Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio are good tracks for Porsche, but they haven’t had the same results at Road America and Mosport. That means building as many points here as possible is very important.