Formula E: when competition benefits everyone
For Michelin, competitions have always been an outdoor lab. All the innovations developed for the track come together one day or another in the tires you use. But in Formula E, the technological transfer is almost instantaneous!
The FIA Formula E championship drew up specifications for its tires in line with the spirit of the discipline: Only one model (whatever the weather conditions) and only one set of tires per driver for each grand prix (qualifications + races, so 4 tires and 1 spare). Finally, one unique diameter of 18 inches which corresponds to the size used by standard sports sedans. In total, only 180 tires are used by all the teams during a Formula E grand prix, compared to 1,300 for a Formula 1 race.
When we became a partner of this competition, our teams at Cataroux (Clermont-Ferrand, France) drew inspiration from the MICHELIN Energy Saver EV tire tread (EV for Electric Vehicle) when making the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire. This tire, which offers optimum energy efficiency and maximum road handling, allows drivers to express all piloting styles. As efficient in the heat of Buenos Aires as in the cold Moscow winter, on the abrasive runway at Templehof Airport (Berlin) and the concrete sheeting of the Miami track, it quickly won over all the drivers. To such an extent that at the end of the inaugural 2014-2015 season, the FIA chose it again, without modifications, for the next season.
In parallel, everything we have learned from this very particular competition has allowed us to evolve our EV range for light electric vehicles. And the tread of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire also inspired the treads for the MICHELIN Cross Climate tire and the MICHELIN Pilot Sport4 tire. For the 2016-2017 season, we will be offering a development focusing even more on energy efficiency.
On July 8th, Cataroux hosted an event for those who design the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire and those who use it: a visit from drivers Simona De Silvestro and Stéphane Sarazin. An exceptional day, full of rich discussions about passion and performance, which ended with a Formula E demonstration on a temporary track installed inside the factory itself. A great experience!