Michelin scooped the top prize at the 2021 12 Hours of Sebring (Florida, USA) which was won by the JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac-DPi-V.R of Frenchmen Loïc Duval, Tristan Vautier and Sébastien Bourdais. Sebring is one of motor racing’s toughest venues for tires and a great track therefore to prepare for the FIA World Endurance Championship which this year kicks off at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on May 1.
The surface of the Sebring International Speedway, which is built on former airfield land, features a mix of asphalt and concrete slabs which make it exceptionally abrasive and bumpy. The 17-turn, 6.018-kilometre circuit (lapped 349 times by this year’s ‘12 Hours’ winners) is consequently a punishing test for the cars and their tires and the perfect location to prepare for the season’s other major endurance racing fixtures, like the Le Mans 24 Hours which this year takes place on August 21-22.
“On top of the long-lasting performance delivered by the Michelin Pilot Sport GT this weekend when nine new lap records and a new race-distance record [2,100km] were established, the key for Michelin is the satisfaction of our customers,” said Tony Ménard, Director of Motorsport for Michelin North America. “At Sebring, we worked with 18 automaker brands who place their confidence in Michelin for both their racing and road tires.”
The 69th 12 Hours of Sebring, second round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Championship, turned out to be particularly grueling, with numerous tangles and a long list of retirements. Even the winning entry dropped a lap following a collision, but the N°5 Cadillac-DPi fought back to beat the N°55 Mazda-DPi (Jarvis/Tincknell/Bomarito) and N°48 Cadillac (Johnson/Kobayashi/Pagenaud) by 1.435 and 1.641 seconds respectively.
Michelin celebrated its new partnership with the Porsche Carrera Cup North America at Sebring where the two wins went to talented youngsters Sebastian Priaulx and Kay Van Berlo in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup N3-equipped Porsche GT3 Cup 992s.
Porsche and Michelin also combined to dominate the 12 Hours of Sebring’s GTLM and GTD classes with the WeatherTech Racing 911 RSR of MacNeil/Jaminet/Campbell and Pffaf Motorsports 911 GT3 of Robichon/Vanthoor/Kern. The N°52 Oreca/Michelin (PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) and N°54 Ligier/Michelin (Core Autosport) topped the LMP2 and LMP3 standings, while Chevrolet and Audi shone in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Michelin’s 2021 endurance racing campaign has got away to a flawless start, with IMSA victories at Daytona and Sebring, plus wins at all four rounds of the Asian Le Mans Series. Its schedule continues with the FIA WEC Prologue test at Spa-Francorchamps on April 26 and the opening clash of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Belgian circuit on May 1 when the new generation of Hypercars will make their eagerly-awaited race debut equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Endurance tires.