PSCR: Michelin Wins Road Atlanta
24 June 1998(BRASELTON, GA) --- Michelin came to the challenging road course at Road America for the Sports Car Grand Prix with plenty of momentum gained from six consecutive North American GT1 victories and the overall championship and the GT2 title at Le Mans earlier this month. Led by the STP Champion Porsche team, Michelin captured the GT1 race victory under the hot Georgia sun in the SPORTS CAR-sanctioned WSC/GT race.
Thierry Boutsen and Bob Wollek took the GT1 took the lead on the first lap and led the entire three-and-three-quarter hour, 162-lap race, never relinquishing it to one of the Michelin-fitted Visteon Panoz GTR-1s. The No. 5 Panoz, driven by Eric Bernard and Raul Boesel, finished second. Johnny O'Connell and Doc Bundy finished third in the No. 45 Panoz after retiring with gearbox problems on lap 99. The No. 4 Panoz of Andy Wallace and David Brabham finished fourth after contact with a World Sports Car on lap 36 sent Wallace into a tire retaining wall. He was uninjured.
"Michelin, Champion Porsche and Panoz Motorsports have worked well together this season and the results show that," said Herb Johnson," Director of Motorsports, Michelin North America. "It is great to see the Champion Porsche team atop the podium. The conditions were very hot all day, but once again the Michelin Pilots maintained their grip and brought the Champion Porsche to victory."
Wallace, driving the No. 4 Panoz, captured the GT1 pole with a time of 1:16.225=120.90 mph. Boutsen qualified the Champion Porsche second with a time of 1:6.442=120.56 mph. Boesel qualified third with a time of 1:16.946=119.77 mph. in the No. 5 Panoz. Doc Bundy, driving the No. 45 Panoz, started fourth after posting a time of 1:17.574=118.80.
Michelin and Panoz are partnered for the entire 1998 North American GT racing season. They are running all Professional Sports Car races and in select USRRC events. The Champion Porsche is running in select SPORTS CAR and USRRC races.
Michelin is the "Official Tire of Road Atlanta." In recognition of Michelin's sponsorship at Road Atlanta, the bridge overlooking the downhill chute to turn 12 is now recognized as the "Michelin Bridge". In addition, Michelin has a prominent presence on the Start/Finish Tower. Other Michelin signage is located throughout the racing facility.
Michelin began the GT racing season by claiming victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona when the Michelin Pilot-equipped Rohr Motorsports Porsche 911 GT1 took the checkered flag first in the GT1 class. Michelin then swept the top three GT1 positions at the Exxon Superflo 12 Hours of Daytona, led by the Panoz of Brabham and Wallace. Those victories were followed up with triumphs in Las Vegas, Homestead, Lime Rock Park and Mid-Ohio.
Michelin, which brought the world the radial tire more than 50 years ago, is the world's largest tire company. It has 22 plants in North America and produces tires for every type of vehicle, from bicycles to the space shuttle.