Michelin Celebrates Victories at Le Mans
9 June 1998Michelin Celebrates Victories at Le Mans
GREENVILLE, S.C., June 9 -- Michelin's popular, "Mr. Bib" continued the year-long celebration of his one hundredth birthday with a pair of victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 5-6. A Michelin Pilot fitted Porsche GTl-98s driven by Alan McNish of Britain; Laurent Aiello and Stephane Ortelli of France claimed the Victory in the world's most prestigious race. The winning Porsche team completed 351 laps of the 8,456 mile circuit (2976 miles) at an average speed of 124.57 miles per hour. The second place finisher was another Michelin fitted Porsche GT1-98 driven by Bob Wolleck, Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen. A Michelin fitted Toyota GT1 led the race by over 30 seconds, when a gearbox problem ended its race with less than 90 minutes remaining. The fastest lap of the race, was recorded by Martin Brundle in another equipped Toyota GT1 entry. Claiming the GT2 class victory was a Michelin Pilot equipped Dodge Viper GTS-R driven by American David Donohue; Justin Bell of Britain and Luca Drudi of Italy. Second place in GT2 went to another Michelin equipped Dodge Viper GTS-R, driven by Olivier Beretta of France; Pedro Lamy of Portugal and American Tommy Archer. Factory and privateer entries from Mercedes Benz; BMW, Toyota, Nissan, McLaren, Porsche, Chrysler and Panoz made the 66th running of the event one of the most competitive in history. A total of 23 of the 47 starters finished the race. "Having an overall victory at Le Mans, victory in the GT2 class and the fastest race lap is a great way for Michelin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bib, the Michelin Man," said Herb Johnson, Michelin's Manager of Motorsports. "There is nothing in the world that matches the sights and sounds of Le Mans," said Johnson. Le Mans is synonymous with endurance and Michelin proved the endurance of the Michelin Pilot tire here today." The next major endurance test for the Michelin Pilots will come at America's Road Atlanta this fall on October 10th for the Petit Le Mans.