With Kyle Marcelli – Racer, American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón
Kyle Marcelli – Overall it certainly was a solid year for me. It was my most successful American Le Mans Series season yet. I’ve only been in it for two years, but it was a good year. We had three wins, I had three pole positions, eight podiums and two new lap records. Included in there, I think, were a couple of fast (race) laps.
If it weren’t for [DNFs at Sebring and Mosport] I think if we could have had last place points (instead of zero points) then I would have won the championship. Instead it put me to third overall in the drivers’ championship at the end of the year. I was also awarded a Michelin Driver of the Year. I get to go to Mexico and do some Baja Racing, so I’m looking forward to that.
PRN – How would you assess your career progression at this point?
KM - This year needed to be a proving year for me, and I think we did that. I was driving for a privateer race team, Intersport Racing, funded primarily by the team owners and my co-drivers. I had a couple of different co-drivers throughout the season, but nonetheless I think we accomplished a lot this year. The goal this year was to debut in Europe and I was fortunate enough to do that. I did two races and won one of them. (Marcelli and co-driver Chapman Ducote won at Imola and were third at Silverstone in the European Le Mans Series. – Ed.)
PRN- Where do things stand with regard to your 2012 plans?
KM – The goal is certainly to continue building a career in sports car racing for now. The next logical step is to secure something with a manufacturer, whether it’s a GT car or LMP1 car. Those are my primary goals – get in the door of a manufacturer-supported class of the American and European Le Mans Series. A secondary option is to be back in LMPC, but that’s certainly not the goal. I don’t have
a firm answer yet.
PRN- How did your relationship with Sailun begin?
KM – I was first introduced to Sailun in the late fall two years ago. I was hired to do some tire testing at Mosport, which was a ton of fun. I was in a 3 Series BMW and we put each tire through different exercises- slalom, braking both on the highways, on the roads and then on the race track. For me, I looked at these guys as being a small name at the time, a growing operation that’s passionate about their products and wants them to be a good and reputable brand. They really put effort behind the development of their tire which I thought was great, and it was really cool to be part of it.
A few months later, I got a call asking to test a set of their winter tires. They gave me a set to put on my Subaru and I just had to write a review on them. I bolted a set of Ice Blazers on and was really impressed to be honest with you.
I wrote a full review on the tire that’s on their website. Everything from the handling to the acceleration, to the braking and how the tire reacted – I was really impressed with the tire.
More recently I wrote a review on their all-season performance tire, the Atrezzo Z4+AS. Again, I was real happy with the compound. There were a couple of things that impressed me and a couple of things that didn’t, but overall it stood out as a unique performance tire in some of its characteristics. It was very summer-performance oriented.
PRN- How do you see the relationship evolving?
KM – We’re taking some baby steps together. They’re a growing manufacturer. Regardless of the size of the company, I really like their thought and their goals the way they envision their product. It’s really neat to be part of a manufacturer that takes their product seriously. They don’t to be known as a cheap, Chinese tire. They really want to brand themselves in competition with all of the top brands and have a tire that backs it up with performance. So they’re really doing everything they can to develop their tires. They’re taking opinions from consumers and professionals and are using that information to develop new products.