24H du Mans

Michelin targeting a 20th straight win at Le Mans

Michelin, which has gone unbeaten in the world’s most famous endurance race since 1998, is hunting for a 20th consecutive victory this time round. It will be competing with partners in all four categories, including Porsche and Toyota in the blue ribband hybrid prototype class.

24H du Mans

Porsche vs Toyota in 2017

In addition to releasing the entry list for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has named the teams it has invited to take part in June’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Michelin is targeting its 20th straight win in the celebrated French race (June 17-18).

24H du Mans

The life of a Michelin tyre down racing’s most famous straight

The Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans is one of the longest straights in motorsport. This 5.5km run actually uses a main road that leads out of the French city to Tours and has been split into three parts by two chicanes since 1990. Tyres are subjected to considerable lateral, longitudinal and vertical forces along this celebrated portion of asphalt.

The Mulsanne Straight is preceded by the Tertre Rouge turn which the LM P1 hybrid prototypes take at around 215kph. Michelin’s tyres have to cope with lateral forces of up to 3g here, which causes them to deform significantly.

At the celebrated French track (13.629km), the cars reach their highest speed between Tertre Rouge and the Michelin Chicane, with the fastest prototype runners peaking at about 330kph. At this sort of speed, an LM P1 tyre rotates more than 41 times every second!

Centrifugal force also causes the tyres to deform as the side walls are stretched outwards, increasing the tyres’ overall diameter by around two percent (1cm). At the same time, aerodynamic downforce presses the covers into the ground, making them more oval than perfectly round, a phenomenon that kicks in at around 250kph.

After 2.1km, drivers reach the Michelin Chicane which turns right, then left and right again. Under braking, tyres have to withstand deceleration forces of 3G as they slow from 320kph to 110kph in something like 400 metres. Yet this isn’t the spot where the cars brake the hardest during the FIA WEC campaign, especially as the drivers tend to lift from the accelerator pedal slightly earlier in order to recover energy and charge the batteries. At Silverstone, for example, the cars are subjected to braking forces in excess of 4G in places.

When entering the Michelin Chicane, the front left tyre is submitted to a lateral load of 6,000 Newtons (600kg), but this isn’t the most critical part of the circuit for this particular cover which soaks up a load of 1,200kg into Indianapolis. At Spa’s famous Raidillon, the same figure is closer to 1,400kg.

The punishment is practically identical into the chicane, while braking for the Mulsanne Turn – at the very end of the straight – sees the four tyres soak up a static vertical load of 1.5G (i.e. the car’s own weight plus 50%).

This year, Michelin is giving its LMP1 partners the opportunity to complete five stints on the same set of tyres during the race, which equates to some 65 poundings down the Mulsanne Straight!

FIA Formula E

Berlin ePrix: Rosenqvist on form in Berlin

Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) left Berlin with the weekend’s highest points haul thanks to his victory in Saturday’s race. Sunday’s victor was the championship’s provisional leader Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams).

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Dovizioso makes it two on the trot in Catalonia

After taking the top prize at Mugello, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was first over the line again at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya Monster to claim Round 7 of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship. Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were second and third. 

FIA WRC

Maiden WRC glory for Ott Tanak!

After collecting the first world class top-three finish of his career in Sardinia, in 2012, Estonia’s Ott Tanak celebrated his first world championship victory on the same event today. The Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin driver was joined on the Italian podium by Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai).

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Barcelona, a highlight of the season!

After last weekend’s trip to Mugello, Italy, the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship moves on to Barcelona, Spain, for the year’s seventh round: the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. 

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