24H du Mans

A second straight 1-2 finish for Toyota/Michelin at Le Mans

Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed a second one-two finish at Le Mans to earn a 22nd consecutive win for its partner Michelin in the famous French endurance race. Victory ended up in the hands of the N°8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, ahead of the N°7 sister car, while winning drivers Buemi, Nakajima and Alonso wrapped up the 2018/2019 FIA WEC title. The top-three was rounded out by the N°11 BR1/Michelin. Michelin topped the order in LMP2, too, with Alpine (Lapierre/Negrao/Thiriet), as well as in LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am with Ferrari (Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra) and Ford (Keating/Bleekemolen/Fraga) respectively. The 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours provided Michelin with the ideal opportunity to showcase the long-lasting performance credentials of its Pilot Sport Endurance tyres.

24H du Mans

2019 LE MANS 24 HOURS - Long-lasting performance to the line, with Michelin…

This year, as always, Michelin’s mission at Le Mans is to provide the drivers of the 53 cars competing on its tyres with superior grip and long-lasting performance as it bids to extend the unbeaten spell it has enjoyed in the endurance racing classic since 1998. Meanwhile, Michelin is busy working on mobility for the future in association with the fuel cell-powered GreenGT prototype which will perform a parade lap of the French circuit. 

24H du Mans

Michelin tyres… more consistent than the regulations!

Michelin’s unbeaten spell at Le Mans that has lasted since 1998 can be explained by the performance and consistency of the successive generations of endurance racing tyres it has developed. They have long been capable of covering multiple ‘stints’ all the way to the finish line with no loss of efficiency, and these are the very same qualities that the French firm’s partners know they can expect for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours.

In recent years, the regulations did not permit tyres to be changed while cars were being refuelled, and only one wheel-nut gun was authorised to remove and fit wheels. As a result, fitting fresh rubber took up valuable time in the pits, and this encouraged teams to keep the same set for several stints.

This phenomenon played perfectly to the strengths of Michelin’s tyres which are able to cover distances in excess of 700km at average speeds of around 220kph, with no fall-off in either performance or safety.

For this year, however, the picture has changed, since the regulations now permit tyres to be swapped as fuel is being pumped into the cars, while two wheel-nut guns and two mechanics are allowed to work in the pit lane. “It now takes around 15 seconds longer to refuel than it does to fit new tyres. As a result, changing rubber no longer represents a penalty in terms of time, so teams are tempted to switch more frequently,” notes Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes.

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All the same, teams will be compelled to run multi-stint strategies since a maximum cap concerning the number tyres they can use is in place. The LMP1 prototypes, for example, have a quota of 12 sets of slicks for Le Mans, which means they will have to run triple or even quadruple stints of around 40 minutes each. In LM GTE, the cars will have to double stint, at least.

“In spite of this evolution, there continues to be every justification to highlight the durability of our tyres,” says Jérôme Mondain. “This new regulation will clearly have a knock-on effect with regard to the teams’ strategies and will no doubt increase the number of tyres that are actually used, whereas the likes of Porsche and Audi used only nine or ten sets to win the race in recent years.”

Although this new measure could be conceived as a step back, the tyres Michelin’s partners have available for the 2018 Le Mans this year are totally capable of completing five stints in LMP1, quadruple stinting in LMP2 and triple stinting in LM GTE. “With that in mind, the teams will be free to choose the tactic that suits them the best,” concludes Jérôme Mondain.

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FIA WRC

Hyundai/Michelin’s Sordo wins the day in Sardinia

Dani Sordo’s 163rd world class start saw the 36-year old Spaniard claim the second WRC win of his career at the 2019 Rally Italia Sardegna, one of the championship’s most punishing tests of tyres. Ott Tänak led until a power-steering problem delayed him on the week’s final stage, which allowed Teemu Suninen (Ford/Michelin) and Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai/Michelin) to clinch second and third places. Kalle Rovanperä (Skoda/Michelin) topped the WRC2 Pro order once again.

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Marquez on his momentum, as Quartararo claims maiden MotoGP podium!

The 2019 MotoGPTM World Championship pace-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) extended his lead in the provisional standings by winning the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya at Barcelona-Catalunya. French youngster Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), 20, collected his first podium finish, ahead of Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP™ - Danilo Petrucci earns maiden MotoGPTM victory at Mugello

Danilo Petrucci claimed the first premier-class win of his career at his home race on an Italian bike. The Ducati Team rider earned rapturous applause from the local fans when he was first across the line at Mugello, home of the 2019 MotoGPTM World Championship’s sixth round. Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Petrucci’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso were second and third. The performance of Michelin’s latest-generation MotoGPTM tyres contributed to the tumbling of several records.  

FIA WRC

Portugal glory for Toyota/Michelin

Twenty-five years after their last win together on the event as a WRC round*, Toyota and Michelin claimed the top prize at this year’s Rally de Portugal thanks to Ott Tänak. Second and third were Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) and Sébastien Ogier (Citroën/Michelin). With half of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship completed, Ogier tops the Provisional Drivers’ standings, two and ten points clear of his Estonian and Belgian rivals respectively. The new Skoda Fabia R5 Evo/Michelin got its career of to a flying start with a one-two finish in WRC2 Pro thanks to Kalle Rovanperä and Jan Kopecky.

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