Skip to content

IMSA: Michelin returns to Watkins Glen for first time since 1999

Jun 24, 2014, 10:56 AM EST

MichelinGlen Getty Images

The first TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series event at Watkins Glen International marks the first time that Michelin has raced in a major event at the storied circuit in nearly 15 years.

Michelin technical partner teams from Viper Team Oreca and Chamberlain Motorsport Viper swept the podium at the 1999 FIA GT Championship race at Watkins Glen in October 1999.

Competing in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the TUDOR Championship, Michelin will try to match that success as its 2014 technical partner teams from BMW Team RLL, Corvette Racing, Porsche North America, Risi Competizione Ferrari and Krohn Racing Ferrari and also SRT Motorsports Viper. The Vipers take on their retro red livery from the standard blue and silver, starting this weekend.

The 3.37-mile, 11-turn circuit, with over 140 feet in elevation changes twice each lap, presents a number of technical challenges including long, fast straightaways ending in downhill cornering, uphill exits and a mix off high, medium and low speed corners and heavy braking zones.

“Our Michelin engineers and technical partner teams always look forward to the challenges of a new circuit, especially a legendary circuit like Watkins Glen,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director for Michelin North America.

“From a technical approach, extended tread life, consistent braking and cornering are critical. A six hour race also provides some opportunities to try different compounds and tire strategies,” said Payne. “Artistically, our tires are the paint that drivers and teams use to draw their lines for each corner and create their full canvas of the circuit.”

Michelin and its technical partners have all made use of various combinations of simulations and track tests in preparation for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen on Sunday, June 29.

“Simulations are extremely helpful and certainly get us pointed in the right direction, but there is no substitute for actual race miles to discover any changes in grip levels as the track evolves in race conditions to complete the picture,” said Payne.

  1. techmeister1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    The Glen is a great circuit. They really should build a couple nice hotels and a few restaurants in the area to boost the pro events they feature. I’ll bet the current crop of F1 drivers would love to race on this track. It’s fast, technical and demanding.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. C. Coughlin (1931)
  2. K. Busch (1742)
  3. B. Vickers (1730)
  4. A. Self (1648)
  5. D. Suarez (1432)
  1. D. Armstrong (1385)
  2. M. Tifft (1382)
  3. J. Boston (1344)
  4. K. Busch (1274)
  5. L. Cassill (1214)