IMSA: The Michelin Pilot Sport’s longevity pays at Daytona

The long-lasting performance credentials of the Michelin Pilot Sport helped the French firm to make a decisive mark at the opening round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Notorious as a gruelling test of speed and resilience, last weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona on Florida’s east coast was won by the Acura ARX-05 of Taylor/Albuquerque/Rossi/Castroneves who got Michelin’s 2021 endurance racing campaign off to the perfect start. Michelin has been a major partner of the North American series since 2019 and is this year working with no fewer than 18 carmakers.


Michelin and its partnership with North American endurance racing

Starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona 24 Hour race and in a multi-year agreement, Michelin will be the Official Tire of IMSA. The partnership includes not only the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but also two other major IMSA-sanctioned series, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge. What benefits does this association bring Michelin?    


Cadillac, Chevrolet and Porsche claim 2021 IMSA crowns with Michelin

Cadillac, Chevrolet and Porsche have secured this season’s IMSA titles in association with Michelin, Official Tire of North America’s IMSA SportsCar WeatherTech Championship. The year’s final round at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta – Petit Le Mans – was won by Mazda/Michelin.

This year’s IMSA campaign concluded on Saturday, November 13, at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Georgia, USA, not far from Michelin USA’s headquarters in Greenville, North Carolina.

The 24th running of the 10-hour Petit Le Mans attracted an entry of more than 150 MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped cars.

The Mazda DPi RT-24 prototype of Oliver Jarvis/Harry Tincknell/Jonathan Bomarito bounced back from an early three-lap delay to take the win, ahead of Whelen Engineering Racing’s N°31 Cadillac and the N°10 Konica Minolta Acura, allowing Mazda Motorsport to bow out of the series with seven victories to its name.

The 2021 Dpi titles were harvested by Cadillac (Manufacturers), Whelen Engineering Racing (Teams) and Ricky Taylor/Filipe Albuquerque (Drivers).

Porsche/Michelin monopolized the top two places in GTLM with the WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSRs of McNeil/Jaminet/Campbell and Estre/Christensen/Makowiecki, while the class’s titles went to Chevrolet-Corvette and Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor (N°3 Corvette C8.R/Michelin), winners at Daytona, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock. The GTLM category will be replaced by GTD Pro from next season.

The N°23 Heart of Racing Team-tended Aston Martin/Michelin (De Angelis/Gunn/James) topped the GTD order at Road Atlanta, but the titles ended up in the hands of Porsche, Pfaff Motorsports and Laurens Vanthoor/Zacharie Robichon.

Last but not least, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and Riley Motorsport took the LMP2 and LMP3 spoils, while the Michelin Pilot Challenge standings saw Taylor Hagler (Hyundai/Michelin) become IMSA’s first lady champion since Christina Nielsen.

“IMSA presents the most diverse range of circuits and conditions,” points out Tony Ménard, Director of Motorsport, Michelin North America. “We race in daylight and darkness, in heat and cold, rain or shine, on streets and a variety of permanent circuits. This ultimate test across conditions is why we choose IMSA as the platform to test our tires and showcase their longevity.”

IMSA SportsCar WeatherTech Championship action will resume in Daytona, Florida, with the Roar Before 24 on January 21-23, 2022.

From 2023, the same regulations will apply in LMH and LMDh, thereby enabling constructors to contest IMSA, the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans. All these Hypercar prototypes will compete on Michelin rubber.

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MotoGP™: Bagnaia wins Rossi’s swansong race at Valencia

The Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, closing round of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship and final appearance of Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT), was won by Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) made it an all-Ducati podium as a sea of yellow-clad fans paid a last tribute to ‘The Doctor’. Michelin concluded the season in style by contributing to two more MotoGPTM records.  


FIA WEC world titles for Toyota and Ferrari in association with Michelin

While Toyota wrapped up the first-ever world title of the new Hypercar era in association with Michelin at Sakhir International Circuit at the end of October, the result of this weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain (Round 8 of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship) at the same venue saw MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped Ferrari 488 Evos clinch the LM GTE Pro and GTE Am crowns.


MotoGP™: Bagnaia claims assertive win in the Algarve

The Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve – the 17th and penultimate round of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship – was won by Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). The race was red-flagged two laps from the end, with Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and the winner’s team-mate Jack Miller in second and third places. It was another successful weekend for Michelin whose tires helped Bagnaia to establish a new track lap record (1m38.725s) in qualifying.  


A fourth endurance world title for Toyota and Michelin

Toyota’s one-two finish at last weekend’s 6 Hours of Bahrain allowed the Japanese carmaker to make sure of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship crown with one round remaining. Equipped with MICHELIN Pilot Sport tires developed specifically for the sport’s latest-generation prototypes, the Toyota GR010 Hybrid will go down as the first title-winning car of endurance racing’s Hypercar era.

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