FIA WEC

Le Mans 2017: Toyota/Michelin grabs history-making pole!

The final evening of Le Mans qualifying turned out to be a landmark occasion with drivers setting new qualifying records up and down the classes. Toyota/Michelin’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 TS050-Hybrid, Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) stunned his rivals early on with a 3m14.791. That not only took the wind out of Porsche’s sails but also goes down as the fastest ever lap in Le Mans history. There were record performances, too, in LMP2 (N°26 Oreca), LM GTE Pro (N°97 Aston Martin) and LM GTE Am (N°50 Chevrolet/Michelin).

FIA WEC

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota/Michelin dominates Test Day

The top three places at Sunday’s official pre-Le Mans Test Day were monopolised by Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin prototypes. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota) bettered the 2016 pole-winning time, while Michelin runners also dominated the LM GTE Pro class with Corvette and Porsche.

FIA WEC

Toyota/Michelin wins Silverstone WEC opener

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Michelin won Great Britain’s 6 Hours of Silverstone for the second time after their maiden victory there together in 2014. First past the flag was the N°8 TS050 Hybrid of Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima, which finished clear of the N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) Porsches. Michelin won all three of the classes in which it was represented.

 

The sixth FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) kicked off on Easter Sunday with a field of 27 cars for the 2017 6 Hours of Silverstone.

The new Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids dominated qualifying to monopolise the grid’s front row, with the N°7 car (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) earning the Japanese firm’s first WEC pole position since the 2014 Fuji race.

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The two Toyotas got away to a strong start, chased by the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, but the N°7 prototype was soon delayed by a rear antiroll bar problem. At the halfway point, the N°8 Toyota led as rain swept over the Northamptonshire track.

On Lap 116, Pechito Lopez crashed badly in the N°7 car following a repeat antiroll bar issue. The ensuing safety car period bunched up the gaps at the sharp end and Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima’s 40-second advantage was wiped out.

With 47 minutes remaining, the N°8 Toyota made its final refuelling stop, imitated 20 minutes later by the N°2 Porsche which only needed a ‘splash ‘n dash’ and was consequently able to re-join in front.

The Japanese machine’s aerodynamic package was better suited to Silverstone, however, and Buemi lost no time catching the German car before reclaiming top spot with 12 minutes to go. The Swiss driver ended up crossing the line with a winning margin of 6.173s after 1,162 kilometres.

The LM GTE Pro victory went to the class’s pole-winning N°67 Ford GT/Michelin (Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani) which took the spoils ahead of the N°51 Ferrari/Michelin (Pier Giudi/Calado) and N°91 Porsche/Michelin (Lietz/Makowiecki). The N°66 Ford and the N°71 Ferrari made it an all-Michelin top five.

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In LM GTE Am, the Clearwater Racing-run N°61 Ferrari/Michelin (Mok/Sawa/Griffin) took the top prize, ahead of the N°98 Aston Martin, despite a collision between the cars a few corners before the finish. The LM P2 victor was China’s Jackie Chan DC Racing outfit (N°38 Oreca07-Gibson), ahead of the N°31 Vaillante-Rebellion and N°28 TDS Racing prototypes.

Next round: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (May 6).

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Rossi returns to winning ways at Assen

Sunday’s Motul Assen TT, round eight of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, was won by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Second and third were fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Prama Racing) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 2017: Michelin’s 20th Le Mans consecutive victory in numbers

Michelin won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 20th straight year and for the third year in a row in association with Porsche after posting the fastest ever lap of the French circuit with Toyota. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ for the Dutch GP

Assen is the only circuit to have been visited by the MotoGPTM World Championship every season since 1949. The Motul TT Assen is round eight of the 2017 calendar. 

24H du Mans

Porsche LMP Team hands Michelin its 20th straight Le Mans win!

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours saw Michelin extend its uninterrupted winning record in La Sarthe to 20 outright victories since 1998. It was assisted in its quest by the dogged determination of the N°2 Porsche crew (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) who fought back from an early technical issue to scoop the coveted trophy with an hour to go. Along with the N°8 Toyota, which finished back in ninth spot, the German machine was one of only two LMP1-H prototypes to reach the flag after disaster struck the class’s other three factory entries. Michelin’s successful weekend was compounded by a one-two-three finish in LM GTE Am in association with Ferrari, plus a double podium in LM GTE Pro.

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