FIA WEC

Porsche and Michelin triumph in Texan heat

Porsche Team collected its third consecutive one-two finish in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship when Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley took the win at Austin, Texas, USA, in the N°2 919 Hybrid, ahead of the similar car of Jani/Lotterer/Tandy. The N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE/Michelin of Calado/Per Guidi won the LM GTE class.

FIA WEC

New look for world class endurance racing

Created in 2012, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is to undergo significant changes from next season when the series will straddle two calendar years (2018/2019) and conclude with the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours. The LMP1 cars will run to new technical regulations. As a participant in the FIA WEC since the outset, Michelin approves the latest moves.  

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.

Staged just two weeks ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the pre-race Test Day is the teams’ sole opportunity to lap the 13.629km French circuit outside of race week itself. The two four-hour sessions organised by the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) were therefore eagerly employed by the 60 cars invited to take part in the classic’s 85th running and, together, they totalled 59,681km!

The Test Day has several purposes, including a chance for the year’s Le Mans rookies to complete at least 10 laps to qualify for the race, plus work on set-up for next week’s practice sessions and the race itself. Meanwhile, Michelin uses it to sign off its latest-specification tyres which are designed to deliver a winning cocktail of performance, durability and consistency around this highly specific track.

Toyota, which has entered three cars for the first time this year, dealt a psychological blow by placing all its Michelin-shod TS050 Hybrids at the top of the order, with Kamui Kobayashi posting the day’s fastest effort (3m18.132s) in the N°7 car. That’s 1.601s quicker than last year’s best qualifying time and the first time the threshold of 3m20s has been beaten at the Test Day.

The two Michelin-equipped Porsche 919 Hybrids finished more than three seconds adrift (led by Earl Bamber’s 3m21.512s), but the 18-time Le Mans winning team was most probably focusing on its race set-up.

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In LM GTE Pro, the seven fastest cars – of four different makes – were blanketed by less than a second. The benchmark was established by the N°64 Corvette C7.R/Michelin, chased by the two new factory Porsche 911 RSR/Michelins. The other Corvette, the two factory Aston Martins and the N°71 Ferrari/Michelin were the other top-seven entries. Like Porsche in LM P1, last year’s class-winning Ford GT/Michelins ended up three seconds short of the best effort.

The LM GTE Am battle saw the N°98 factory Aston Martin beat Larbre Compétition’s Corvette/Michelin by 52-thousandths, while the eight best-placed cars – again representing four different manufacturers – were covered by a single second. This class promises to provide a particularly exciting battle between tyre firms and carmakers this year.

Nelson Panciatici (N°35 Alpine A470) stunned his LM P2 rivals with a time of 3m28.146s, which is less than a second short of the fastest overall race lap posted by an Audi R10 TDI around the same track in 2007!

Action will resume next Wednesday (June 14) with the first free practice session ahead of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: teams head east to Japan

MotoGPTM kicks off the Pacific-Asian leg of the 2017 world championship this weekend with the Motul Grand Prix of Japan (Round 14), the first of three back-to-back races along with Australia and Malaysia. Provisional leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) stand out as the big favourites for this year’s title. 

FIA WRC

Meeke bounces back in Spain for Citroën/Michelin

Citroën Racing’s Kris Meeke stemmed a recent barren spell with an emphatic victory on the 2017 RallyRACC Catalunya-Rally de España in his Michelin-equipped Citroën C3 WRC. The Ulsterman was followed over the line by M-Sport team-mates Sébastien Ogier and Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta WRC/Michelin) whose efforts took the British outfit a step closer to its first Manufacturers’ crown since 2007. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Honda’s Aragon one-two

The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón – Round 14 of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship – was won by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team). 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: off to Aragon

The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, Round 14 of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, takes teams to Spain this weekend. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) are provisionally level at the top of the Riders’ standings.  

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