When a series like the IMSA Weather Tech
SportsCar Championship has such a diverse
array of cars competing together, balancing
performance across different configurations
is pivotal to fair play as well as the spectacle.
Continental Tire and Michelin play a
crucial role in establishing a baseline across
the entire grid, creating a tire that works
with the nuances of each car, while
providing a comparable level of
performance among them.
“We work to make a tire that evens the
playing field as much as possible by evaluating
all of the strengths and weaknesses of the
platforms, and targeting the center of the
performance window. “ says Kevin Fandozzi,
Continental Tire’s product manager for IMSA.
“(For example) heavily loaded cars may have
to manage the tire slightly more through a
stint, but will have a slight advantage
getting up to temperature faster.”
Michelin provides GTLM teams with three
ranges of tires, all roughly medium stiffness,
but tuned for a specific range of operating
conditions, mainly temperature windows.
They’re referred to as Cold, Medium and Hot.
“Each team has had the opportunity to
test different Michelin front and rear tire
IMSA’s tire suppliers go to great lengths to ensure a level playing field.
(MAIN) Despite the
vast differences in
found in sports car
Tire works to find an
optimal solution for
each of the classes it
supplies its rubber to.
Tire allocation is defined by race length.
At Petit Le Mans 2016, GTLM teams got
22 sets. At Long Beach, it was just eight.
constructions within the different temperature
ranges, and select the construction they
prefer,” says Chris Baker, Michelin North
America’s director of motorsport. “Among
all of our teams for 2017, there were three
variations of the Cold, two of the Medium
and a single Hot construction selected.
Once made, their respective selections are
locked in by IMSA for the season.”
The lengths to which both Continental
and Michelin go to provide the best tires
possible is staggering, and the racers
competing on them know it.
With Continental Tire supplying the whole
of the Weather Tech Championship’s
Prototype, GT Daytona and Prototype
Challenge fields, plus a second series in
the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
and its 50-plus grids, that’s some
feat of planning and logistics.
For the Weather Tech Championship,
Continental brings 3,400 tires to a
standard-length race to cover all entries
in Prototype, GTD and PC. For an
endurance race such as the Rolex 24 at
Daytona, it will bring as many as 8,500.
Covering GTLM, Michelin will bring
550 tires to a standard race and more
than 2,800 to an endurance race. About
a quarter are wet tires at a standard
race, and close to half at an enduro.
BY THE NUMBERS