IMSA has today announced that Michelin will become the ‘Official Tire of IMSA’ in becoming sole-supplier to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as well as in two major Challenge series – beginning in 2019. The brand has supported IMSA since the founding of its predecessor, the American Le Mans Series in 1999, and is the current technical partner to BMW, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Performance, Porsche GT Team and the Risi Competizione Ferrari in the WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans class.
The multi-year agreement will see the French manufacturers tires fitted to every Prototype (P) and GT Daytona (GTD) car competing in the WeatherTech Championship, in addition to the tire manufacturers continued participation in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. The GTLM class will continue to run an open supply regulation.
The 2019 IMSA Michelin SportsCar Challenge will feature the Grand Sport (GS) class for cars built to international GT4 specifications and Touring Car for TCR-spec race cars, whilst the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda, featuring LMP3 race cars, also will use Michelin supplied tires.
“The significance of this expanded partnership with Michelin, one of the world’s most recognized premium brands, cannot be overstated,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “IMSA has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Michelin, and we are proud to confirm this long-term agreement. Our expanded partnership with Michelin – which also enjoys strong relationships with many of our participating automotive manufacturers – will be a catalyst for accelerating the growth of the WeatherTech Championship and IMSA as a whole.
“We are extremely grateful for the role Continental Tire played in helping to grow our racing platforms throughout our partnership dating back to 2010,” continued Atherton. “Continental has been an outstanding partner and was instrumental in elevating the status of the WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire Challenge to new heights. We extend heartfelt appreciation to our friends at Continental for their unwavering support.”
As the ‘Official Tire of IMSA,’ the WeatherTech Championship, IMSA Michelin SportsCar Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge, Michelin also becomes the entitlement partner of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup beginning in 2019. The four-round competition recognizes top competitors in each class in the four WeatherTech Championship major endurance races. The Cup consists of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, and the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“We are tremendously pleased by today’s announcement,” said Scott Clark, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Michelin North America. “Michelin does not enter into long-term collaborations lightly or solely for our own benefit,” Clark added. “We are committed to IMSA, the competitors and fans to help continue the growth and success of the series on and off the track. This is a tremendous opportunity to work together to grow the sport. We are enthusiastic and eager to make our Michelin tires available to the entire field beginning in 2019.”
“This collaboration with Michelin will inherently make it more seamless for IMSA teams competing internationally and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and for international teams wishing to compete in the WeatherTech Championship,” concluded Atherton.