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. 

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.

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.

First run in 1923, the Le Mans 24 Hours has always stood out as an exceptional challenge not only for drivers, but also for their cars and tyres. Today, it has evolved into a complex and merciless 24-hour sprint that attracts around a quarter of a million spectators every year.

To stand a chance of winning at Le Mans, tyres need to be able to perform at top speeds in excess of 340kph. They must also be capable of covering more than 700km at average speeds of 220kph, while at the same time delivering safe, flawless consistency.

“Le Mans is actually a race that lasts 365 days, not just 24 hours,” stresses Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes. “Even before the chequered flag has come down, our engineers are already analysing the data they have collected to improve our tyres for the following year. The prototypes they produce are tested in the autumn and signed off during the winter before being provided to our partner teams for the season’s opening rounds.”

In addition to being flat and extremely fast, the 13.629km Circuit de La Sarthe is practically unique in that 80 percent of it is made up of roads that are open to everyday traffic the rest of the year. Its surface is consequently inconsistent and offers differing levels of grip, especially following the recent resurfacing of the track’s permanent portion, aka Le Mans-Bugatti. Indeed, the complete track is only open for the official pre-race Test Day and the 24-hour showdown itself.

In the course of such a long race, and given the mixed bag of weather that is to be expected in this part of France in June, the teams need to be on their toes throughout. Experience is therefore a valuable ally when it comes to predicting temperature shifts and possible storms, for example. To cover as many scenarios as possible, Michelin provides its partners with a choice of three types of slick, as well as intermediate and rain tyres.

This year, Michelin is active in all four classes, including the blue ribband LM P1 hybrid prototype category in association with Porsche Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing. The German make has won the last two races, while its Japanese rival is eager to notch up its maiden success in the world-famous classic.

Michelin is also involved with four prestigious makes in LM GTE Pro – Corvette, Ferrari, Porsche and Ford – which invariably produces a close battle, while three prototypes will be competing on the French firm’s latest products in LM P2. In LM GTE Am, Michelin tyres remain a popular choice since no fewer than 10 cars will be racing on its tyres. Each one of these three classes features fierce competition between different tyre companies.

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours will get under way at 3pm local time on Saturday, June 17, but race week kicks off with technical scrutineering in the centre of Le Mans on Sunday, June 11. Practice sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday evening, while Friday afternoon’s city centre Drivers’ parade is always a big draw for fans. The programme of support races includes the Road to Le Mans for which Michelin is the exclusive tyre supplier to the LM P3 and GT3 teams.

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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