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IMSA's tire change schedule takes shape

By Gary Becker
The 2019 IMSA racing season will see a major change as Michelin becomes THE tire for the organization and its series. The biggest change will come to the WeatherTech series competitors as DPi, P2 and GTD teams will turn in their Continental racing tires and replace them with Michelins.

One of the major concerns that non-GTLM IMSA teams have had when heading to Le Mans is how their cars will behave on non-Continental tires, in most cases Michelins. IMSA's GTLM cars currently run on Michelin tires. Now all the non-GTLM IMSA teams will face that question when the 2019 WeatherTech season begins next January in Daytona.

What to do to get the teams ready for the change in rubber, according to Michelin's website, Michelin Alley, there will be "on-track opportunities" for teams test the brand's shoes at several tracks during the course of the 2018 WeatherTech season.

“As we shared with the manufacturers and teams at Daytona, we are working in close collaboration with IMSA to offer on-track opportunities during the course of the 2018 season to help them prepare for 2019. We will offer opportunities to try our proposed IMSA tires on key IMSA tracks in relevant climatic conditions.” Michelin Alley quotes Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America. “We are awaiting confirmation of a date at Daytona International Speedway this spring. We will have an opportunity at Road Atlanta on June 11, and then Watkins Glen (July 2), Road America (August 6) and Road Atlanta (October 15) which are the Mondays after their respective IMSA races.”

Baker went to say in the Michelin Alley article, “We will offer invitations to representatives of each team and their associated vehicle or chassis manufacturers in Prototype (DPi/LMP2), GTD, Michelin SportsCar Challenge and LMP3 to run one car at each on track opportunity. Each team will be offered the opportunity to participate in at least one on-track day during 2018. Identification of the teams and manufacturers selected for these on-track sessions is being done in partnership with IMSA.”

It will be interesting to compare lap times and hear what the teams have to say about how the tires from the new supplier affect their cars.

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