Michelin and endurance racing’s hybrid prototype era

The 2020 8 Hours of Bahrain in November brought the age of hybrid LMP1 prototypes to a close. Introduced in 2012, these technologically-sophisticated machines notched up 61 world-class endurance racing wins, all on Michelin Pilot Sport tyres which delivered on their Performance-Made-to-Last promise. From 2021, the hybrid generation will make way for a new breed of Hypercars.


The Michelin Pilot Sport range triumphs at the Nürburgring

Michelin and its partner BMW chalked up their 20th Nürburgring 24 Hours wins at the weekend thanks to the N°99 M6 GT3. The Sims/Catsburg/Yelloly car overcame horrendous weather in Germany’s Eifel Mountains to finish clear of eight other Michelin Pilot Sport-equipped GT3s.


Michelin tops the order in Bahrain and Sebring

Michelin combined victory at the last round of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota in Bahrain with the win – with Mazda – at the 12 Hours of Sebring, final clash of North America’s IMSA WeatherTech Championship. Michelin claimed all the titles up for grabs in both competitions.

The 8 Hours of Bahrain saw the Michelin Pilot Sport-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids celebrate the Japanese prototype’s swansong appearance by crossing the line in first and second places. The day’s win went to the N°7 crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez who accordingly clinched the 2019/2020 Drivers’ crown.

Since the FIA WEC’s creation in 2012, Michelin partners have won 63 races with the discipline’s successive hybrid LMP1 prototypes (Audi e-tron Quattro, Porsche 919 Hybrid and Toyota TS030/TS040/TS050 Hybrid) which will be replaced by the new Hypercars from 2021.

Thanks to a strategy based on double stints despite the abrasive track surface at Sakhir, Porsche scored a one-two finish in LM GTE Pro with its N°92 (Christensen/Estre) and N°91 (Bruni/Lietz) cars, but Aston Martin Racing had previously made sure of the class’s titles.

Porsche/Michelin topped the LM GTE Am classification, too (with Perfetti/Ten Voorde/Bergmeister, N°56), although the second-placed N°83 Ferrari/Michelin and Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen clinched the category’s Teams’ and Drivers’ crowns.

Michelin’s outstanding 2019/2020 campaign in LMP2 saw it win six of the calendar’s eight races and sew up the titles with United Autosports and Albuquerque/Hanson ahead of the trip to the 8 Hours of Bahrain which produced success for the N°37 Oreca. Michelin concluded its spell in the class by finishing on the podium with Racing Team Nederland’s third-placed N°29 Oreca.

“The 8 Hours of Bahrain went well for us,” reports Pierre Alves, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes. “In LMGTE, all our partners ran our medium tyre and the N°22 United Autosports-run Oreca posted the day’s best average lap time [1m51.841s] over the distance. With the edge of 0.040s per lap that gave it, and given the car’s low tyre degradation, it might well have won had it not spent so much time in the pits.”

Sebring 2020

Meanwhile, some 12,000 kilometres from Bahrain, the Michelin Pilot Sport range shone at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida, USA, as well. The classic’s drama-packed 68th edition was won by the N°55 Mazda/Michelin of Bomarito/Tincknell/Hunter-Reay, while the year’s Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles ended up in the hands of Acura/Michelin and Taylor/Rossi respectively.

Michelin-equipped Porsches monopolised the top two places in GTLM with the N°911 and N°912 911 RSRs of Tandy/Makowiecki/Bamber and Bamber/Vanthoor/Jani to conclude the German make’s involvement in the North American series with a score of 124 class victories with Michelin under its belt. Corvette Racing/Michelin and Garcia/Taylor had wrapped up the class’s 2020 titles prior to the race.

Michelin runners won every round of the 2020 European Le Mans Series, 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Championship and 2019/2020 FIA WEC, as well as the recent 24 Hours of Nürburgring. As further evidence of its tyres’ Performance Made to Last credentials, its partners also packeted the titles up for grabs in the all the classes in which the French firm was involved.

8 Hours of Bahrain – Final positions:

  1. Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez (Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin), 263 laps
  2. Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley (Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin), +1m4.594s
  3. Tung/Aubry/Stevens (Oreca07-Gibson), 247 laps
  4. Gonzalez/Da Costa/Davidson (Oreca07-Gibson), +1.894s
  5. Van Eerd/Van der Garde/De Vryes (Oreca07-Gibson/Michelin), +14.824s
  6. Hanson/Albuquerque/Di Resta (Oreca07-Gibson/Michelin), +11.473s
  7. Laurent/Negrao/Ragues (Alpine A470-Gibson/Michelin), 246 laps
  8. Christensen/Estre (Porsche 911 RSR/Michelin), 235 laps
  9. Bruni/Lietz (Porsche 911 RSR/Michelin), +2.886s
  10. Rigon/Molina (Ferrari 488 GTE Evo/Michelin), +10.549s


12 Hours of Sebring – Final positions:

  1. Bomarito/Tincknell/Hunter-Reay (Mazda/Michelin), 348 laps
  2. Montoya/Cameron/Pagenaud (Acura/Michelin), +10.154s
  3. Jarvis/Nunez/Pla (Mazda/Michelin), +11.704s
  4. Simpson/Leist/Andrews (Cadillac/Michelin), 347 laps
  5. Vautier/Bourdais/Duval (Cadillac/Michelin), 346 laps
  6. Nasr/Derani/Chaves (Cadillac/Michelin), +11.773s
  7. Van der Zande/Briscoe/Dixon (Cadillac/Michelin), 341 laps
  8. Castroneves/Taylor/Rossi (Acura/Michelin), +5.079s
  9. Kelly/Trummer/Huffaker (Oreca/Michelin), 340 laps
  10. Forano/Jensen/Heinemeier-Hansson (Oreca/Michelin), 338 laps


FIA Formula E

The Michelin Pilot Sport EV lights up the Saudi sky

The Michelin Pilot Sport EV helped Nyck de Vries (Mercedes) and Sam Bird (Jaguar) to win the weekend’s two night-time Formula E e-prix in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyad. Michelin was a founding partner of the championship in 2014.


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.


Sébastien Ogier secures his 7th WRC crown with Michelin

Sébastien Ogier won the 2020 Rally Monza to notch up his 47th world-class victory and the seventh FIA World Rally Championship crown of his career on Michelin tyres. The Italian event was the final outing of the French firm’s current spell in the FIA WRC which has seen it harvest no fewer than 347 victories, 1,037 podium placings and 58 Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ world titles since the competition’s creation in 1973, aided by a long list of technological innovations and close working relationships with its driver and carmaker partners.


MotoGP™: Miguel Oliveira reigns supreme on home soil

The final clash of the 2020 MotoGPTM World Championship at Portimão was won in assertive fashion by local star Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). The Grande Prémio MEO de Portugal’s pole-sitter comfortably outdistanced Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who made it three different bikemakers and two different MICHELIN Power Slick pairings on the podium.

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