The FINANCIAL — Michelin started a new American Le Mans Series winning streak in a dramatic finish as the winning Drayson Racing prototype of Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker rallied from a 20-second deficit to take the lead on the next-to-last turn to win the seventh stop of the 2010 American Le Mans Series season here at Road America.
“After seeing our 61 race Michelin ALMS win streak end at Mid-Ohio in the last race, we were determined to start a new streak here at Road America,” said Silvia Mammone, manager motorsports, Michelin North America. “We are very pleased that our Michelin teams were able to overcome a significant disadvantage in straightaway speeds and score a very exciting 1-2-3 finish. We congratulate Paul Drayson, Jonny Cocker and the entire Drayson team on their first overall ALMS race victory. We are proud that they chose Michelin as their technical partner and we hope they enjoy many more victories with Michelin,” said Mammone.
"Cocker, who celebrated his 24th birthday earlier in the week, had first taken the lead on a restart with 52 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 45-minute race. He reeled off the fastest laps of the race on the 4.048-mile circuit to extend his lead to 36 seconds before pitting for fuel with just 21 minutes remaining," Michelin reports.
That move dropped him to fourth place, a full 20 seconds behind three of the premier drivers in sports car racing worldwide as race leader Klaus Graf in the Muscle Milk Team CytoSport Porsche RS Spyder/Michelin led David Brabham in the defending race champion Highcroft Racing HPD/Michelin prototype and Mid-Ohio race winner Guy Smith in the Dyson Mazda Lola.
With the gap to the leader narrowing, Cocker passed Smith for third place with three laps remaining. On the next lap he got around Brabham and set his focus on Graf who was 5.24 seconds up the road as the white flag flew. Cocker caught the better of traffic and carried momentum and commitment into the final corners as Graf’s car started to starve for fuel.
The victory completed a perfect weekend for the Drayson team, which had claimed the pole, fastest race lap, its first ever ALMS win and a victory in the prestigious MICHELIN GREEN X Challenge.
Drayson Racing becomes the fifth different team and fourth different Michelin technical partner to score an overall win in the seven 2010 American Le Mans Series events held to date.
“The race was truly amazing and Jonny’s drive was amazing and inspiring,” said Drayson, a member of the British House of Lords and former U.K. Minister of Science and Innovation. “We now have a world class racing team and we thank Michelin for their technology and encouragement.”
Led by the GT championship-leading Flying Lizard Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long in second place, Michelin teams scored eight of the top nine places in the rugged GT class, but not the one that counted as BMW Rahal Letterman scored its second victory in successfully defending its class honors at Road America.
The GT-pole winning #4 Corvette Racing ZR1/Michelin of Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta took the final podium spot ahead of Corvette Racing teammates Jan Magnussen and Johnny O’Connell. Extreme Speed’s Ferrari of Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown finished fifth followed by Mid-Ohio class winners Gianmaria Bruni and Jaime Melo.
In the new LMP Challenge class, Gunnar Jeannette and Elton Julian scored their third victory of the season for Green Earth Team Gunnar to narrow the championship battle with Level 5 Motorsports to a mere four points with just two races remaining.
Michelin and its technical partner teams now head directly to Canada for the penultimate stop of the 2010 ALMS season at Mosport on Sunday, August 29. Michelin technical partners Highcroft Racing and Corvette Racing are the respective defending champions at the venerable 2.459-mile circuit. One of the fastest circuits on the ALMS schedule, the race takes on added importance as the championship standings for drivers, teams, manufacturers and tire makers reach the critical stage.
“Mosport is a major challenge of cars, drivers and teams and we are committed to helping all of our teams perform at the highest level,” said Mammone. “We learned a lot at Road America and we will try to apply those learnings at Mosport.”
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin (www.michelin.com) designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs approximately 20,900 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.