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

The life of a Michelin tyre down racing’s most famous straight

The Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans is one of the longest straights in motorsport. This 5.5km run actually uses a main road that leads out of the French city to Tours and has been split into three parts by two chicanes since 1990. Tyres are subjected to considerable lateral, longitudinal and vertical forces along this celebrated portion of asphalt.

The Mulsanne Straight is preceded by the Tertre Rouge turn which the LM P1 hybrid prototypes take at around 215kph. Michelin’s tyres have to cope with lateral forces of up to 3g here, which causes them to deform significantly.

At the celebrated French track (13.629km), the cars reach their highest speed between Tertre Rouge and the Michelin Chicane, with the fastest prototype runners peaking at about 330kph. At this sort of speed, an LM P1 tyre rotates more than 41 times every second!

Centrifugal force also causes the tyres to deform as the side walls are stretched outwards, increasing the tyres’ overall diameter by around two percent (1cm). At the same time, aerodynamic downforce presses the covers into the ground, making them more oval than perfectly round, a phenomenon that kicks in at around 250kph.

After 2.1km, drivers reach the Michelin Chicane which turns right, then left and right again. Under braking, tyres have to withstand deceleration forces of 3G as they slow from 320kph to 110kph in something like 400 metres. Yet this isn’t the spot where the cars brake the hardest during the FIA WEC campaign, especially as the drivers tend to lift from the accelerator pedal slightly earlier in order to recover energy and charge the batteries. At Silverstone, for example, the cars are subjected to braking forces in excess of 4G in places.

When entering the Michelin Chicane, the front left tyre is submitted to a lateral load of 6,000 Newtons (600kg), but this isn’t the most critical part of the circuit for this particular cover which soaks up a load of 1,200kg into Indianapolis. At Spa’s famous Raidillon, the same figure is closer to 1,400kg.

The punishment is practically identical into the chicane, while braking for the Mulsanne Turn – at the very end of the straight – sees the four tyres soak up a static vertical load of 1.5G (i.e. the car’s own weight plus 50%).

This year, Michelin is giving its LMP1 partners the opportunity to complete five stints on the same set of tyres during the race, which equates to some 65 poundings down the Mulsanne Straight!

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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