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.


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.  


Toyota/Michelin claims Spa 1-2

Toyota Gazoo Racing came first and second at the 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with its N°8 (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) and N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi) Michelin-equipped TS050 Hybrids. There was one-two glory, too, for Ferrari/Michelin with its N°71 and N°51 488 GTEs in LM GTE Pro.

The N°8 and N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrids couldn’t have wished for a better rehearsal for June’s Le Mans 24 Hours than their victory today over the Michelin-shod N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Lotterer/Jani/Tandy) Porsche 919 Hybrids at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Running with high-downforce aero packages, the Japanese prototypes dominated round two of the 2017 FIA WEC which took place in relatively mild weather in front of 61,000 spectators. The N°8 car pulled clear of its N°7 sister machine when the latter chose to refuel just before a Full Course Yellow period (FCY) during the fourth hour.

With 1½ hours to go, Brendon Hartley put the N°2 Porsche in front thanks to the team’s management of the FCY period. Its chances were scuppered, however, when it collided with the N°36 Alpine which was being driven at the time by ex-Porsche star Romain Dumas!

The N°8 Toyota recovered top spot with Sébastien Buemi, despite a light shower and a spirited fightback by Kamui Kobayashi in the N°7 car. The two prototypes were split by less than two seconds as they passed the flag after 1,211km of racing.

Toyota Gazoo Racing was running a third car for the very first time and Lapierre/Sarrazin/Kunimoto (N°9) ended up fifth, behind the pole-winning N°1 Porsche, after a ‘straight-on’ at the very first turn.

Before today’s result, Toyota/Michelin’s most recent one-two FIA WEC finish dated back to Shanghai in 2014.

The LM GTE Pro class produced a thrilling scrap between the Michelin-equipped N°71 (Bird/Rigon) and N°51 (Calado/Pier Guidi) Ferrari 488 GTEs which secured first and second places after pulling clear of the N°66 and N°67 Ford GTs early on. Neither the Porsche 911 RSRs nor the Aston Martin Vantages were involved in the battle for first place.

The LMP2 fight was won by the N°26 G-Drive Racing prototype (Rusinov/Thiriet/Lynn) after a splendid fight with the N°31 Vaillante-Rebellion (Canal/Prost/Senna) which lost ground near the end. Third place went to the Silverstone-winning N°38 Oreca-Gibson.

The LM GTE Am spoils went to the N°98 Aston Martin of Lamy/Lauda/Dalla Lana who dominated throughout to beat the N°77 Porsche (2nd) and N°61 Ferrari (3rd).

The next public appearance for the FIA WEC teams will be early June’s official test for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.


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. 


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: 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: 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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