It can’t hurt.
Corvette Racing will be among four IMSA factory GT Le Mans teams that will be able to get an early feel for the new Le Mans-spec Michelin tires during this weekend’s event in Monterey, the last race before Le Mans in June.
“This will be the first time that our WeatherTech Championship teams race on our latest 2016 specification tires,” said Chris Baker, Michelin North America’s director of motorsports. “We have run the first three races on our special 2016 ‘low energy circuit’ tires.”
While the challenges are Monterey are different from those at Le Mans, the French endurance classic, Baker says Michelin’s technical partner teams nevertheless are still enthusiastic about having an early chance to rack up actual competitive miles with the new tires.
“The GTLM class is the only ‘open tire’ class in the WeatherTech Championship,” Baker said, “and since all of the GTLM teams have chosen Michelin, we can have a great race here in Monterey and give our teams headed to Le Mans a bit of a head start in their preparations.”
Of course, Corvette Racing is the defending Le Mans GTE-Pro class winner, and other IMSA competitors trying out the new tires this weekend will be past Le Mans GT class winners (and Ferrari works program) Risi Competizione, as well as the new Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT team.
Baker believes allowing the IMSA factory teams to use the 2016 WEC tires early “will help them to be on par with the WEC GTE-Pro teams from Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and Porsche at Le Mans,” he said.
“We want all of our technical partner teams to be performing at an extraordinarily high level in Monterey and to carry that performance all the way to Le Mans.”
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