24 hours of Le Mans: a laboratory for extreme conditions
The 84th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race has been hold on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016. This legendary test of endurance, one of a kind in motorsports, sees drivers, technicians and spectators pushed to the absolute edge.
Since its creation in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has become a laboratory for extreme conditions. Founder Georges Durand (General Secretary of the Automobile Club of Western France from 1906 to 1938) saw it as a means to help move technology forward and make motorsports more accessible. Many of today’s commonplace innovations were born at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the first fog light to cope with the track’s morning mist appeared on a Lorraine-Dietrich in 1926, the first brake disks from Jaguar in 1953 and the first turbocharger engine by Porsche in 1973. Even today, by regularly modifying the regulations the organisers push the technical teams to be continuously innovative. On the track over 13 kilometres long, drivers create their lore whilst technicians prepare the cars of the future.
At Michelin, we share this philosophy. For us, high-level sporting mechanics are a great opportunity to invent and test tomorrow’s solutions. This is why we have such a rich history with Le Mans: 24 victories including the inaugural edition and a run of 18 consecutive victories since 1998. It was also at Le Mans that the first radial slick tyre hit the track, back in 1967. This year, we will be kitting out over 30 participants representing 6,000 tyres for the weekend. We have reworked all of the ranges, for the hybrid prototypes in particular, always with the same objective: greater safety, longevity and performance. For us, this weekend has been the result of 364 days of hard work since the 2015 edition.