MICHELIN’s ‘high-temperature medium’ endurance racing tyre: A battle of strategies at the sun-bathed Circuit of the Americas
The 2013 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas saw victory go to the N°2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (KRISTENSEN/DUVAL/McNISH), although its flag-to-flag combat with the N°8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (DAVIDSON/BUEMI/SARRAZIN) went down to the wire after a tight contest both on the racetrack and in the pits. The two rivals raced MICHELIN‟s „high-temperature medium‟ compound but opted for different strategies, with Audi Sport Team Joest favouring single stints, while Toyota Motorsport GmbH double-stinted from the start, with the exception of one single stint for Briton Anthony DAVIDSON.
“After qualifying, we thought hard about our strategy and decided to take maximum advantage of our MICHELIN tyres,” said the Technical Director of TMG, Pascal VASSELON. “We expected high track temperatures, but the data we had collected with our tyre partner told us it was the right choice. We also asked the drivers what they thought, because doubling stinting in such hot weather was likely to be physically draining…”
It was a strategy that called for careful tyre management, but it gave the Cologne-based team a 20-second advantage with every tyre-change it saved, with no impact on the car‟s lap times. Indeed, Stéphane SARRAZIN posted the fastest race lap of his first run (1m50.210s), four laps from the end of his second stint on MICHELINs that had completed 46 laps. Later, the Frenchman even covered two-and-a-half stints with the same four MICHELIN tyres on his Toyota TS030 Hybrid, from Lap 128 until the chequered flag on Lap 187.
The third car on the LMP1 podium in Texas was Audi‟s other R18 e-tron quattro which suffered an early delay after a collision with the N°92 Porsche 911, 46 minutes into the race. The incident forced an unscheduled pit stop for repairs.
Congratulations to Audi Sport Team Joest on its 100th victory with a prototype car, with every one of them on MICHELIN tyres.
Congratulations, too, to Toyota Motorsport GmbH for delivering such a spectacular race which made full use of the 'total performance' package of its MICHELIN tyres.
In the other classes:
- LMP2: PeCom Racing, MICHELIN‟s only LMP2 partner, came second after a solid performance. The N°49 ORECA 03 (PEREZ-COMPANC/MINASSIAN/KAFFER) run by AF Corse claimed its fourth podium finish from the five FIA WEC rounds contested so far and the Argentine team has gone to the top of the class‟s standings on 104 points.
- LMGTE Pro: Victory for the N°99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 (SENNA/MAKOWIECKI), ahead of the N°51 Ferrari 458 Italia (BRUNI/FISICHELLA). The result takes AF Corse level with Porsche AG Team Manthey at the top of the class‟s points table.
- LMGTE Am: A second straight win for the N°96 Aston Martin Vantage V8 (HALL/CAMPBELL-WALTER), narrowly clear of the N°95 sister car of Danes THIIM/POULSEN/NYGAARD.
Round six of the 2013 FIA WEC will take teams to the Fuji Speedway, at the foot of Japan‟s Mount Fuji, on October 20.