For Michelin, the challenges of such a commitment involve strategy, business and technology.

Strategic challenges

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is one of the three major car racing series in North America alongside NASCAR and IndyCar, and is the only Endurance competition.

A discipline that demands consistent and high-performance tires down to the last lap of the track. And a competition whose values we share.
Scott Clark, CEO of Michelin North America

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is very exciting with a huge following in the North American press and on social media particularly with world famous drivers like Fernando Alonso taking part. The Spanish driver won the first leg of the competition on January 26 and 27, 2019 at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona behind the wheel of the Cadillac DPi-V.R n°10 that he shares with Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi.

 

For MICHELIN, this partnership also strengthens the brand’s presence and visibility on the premium tire segment in North America. The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is an opportunity to assist high-end car manufacturers like the 2018 champions Chevrolet, Cadillac and Ford as well as Porsche, Mercedes and Ferrari in their motorsports projects and on a major North American automotive market for the Clermont-based manufacturer.

 

It is also a natural extension of Michelin’s commitment to Endurance: 24 Hours at Le Mans, FIA Endurance World Championship, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series as well as the legendary courses in the United States and Canada, the 24 Hours at Daytona or the 12 Hours of Sebring. Competitions that attract tens of thousands of motorsports enthusiasts every time. Which represent a great many opportunities for the MICHELIN brand to reach and charm fans, customers and future customers.

The International Motor Sports Association or IMSA

Founded in 1969, the International Motor Sports Association is an American car racing organization based in Daytona Beach in Florida. The IMSA organizes many car races and championships in the United States.

Technological challenges

Endurance has been an integral part of the brand’s DNA since its beginnings. After all, MICHELIN tires won the very first edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1923...

 

Since then, Michelin has been innovating endlessly alongside its partner-manufacturers to offer increasingly high-performance, high-endurance and safe products. Core technologies designed for racing that will also be transferable and transferred to mass-produced tires.

Our commitment to IMSA is part of our desire to help our drivers win on the track, and better satisfy our customers on the roads. The IMSA helps Michelin maintain its technological lead thanks to the permanent challenges of motorsports with a multitude of different vehicles, cutting edge teams and varied tracks. These different constraints and technological solutions developed for them enable us to improve our mass-produced tires
Matthieu Bonardel, Michelin Motorsport Director

A 24-hour race like Daytona, for example, requires extreme versatility and longevity whilst guaranteeing maximum safety and high-performance. At Daytona on January 26 and 27, 2019, many track records were broken in perfect safety despite extreme weather conditions.

At Daytona, we had to keep going despite the weather conditions. It went beyond the question of performance; we had to stay on the track and stay safe. So in terms of that situation, Michelin’s tires were perfect to the very end. On the dry track, we set lap times that had never been done before at Daytona. A lot was asked of the tires and they met our expectations to the letter. On the wet track under extreme conditions, we were able to drive with a green flag for a lot of laps. It’s a great move forward on the previous year. I think that we can be really pleased with Michelin’s tires.
Fernando Alonso, driver of the Cadillac DPi-V.R n°10

Business challenges

Fitting 19 car brands and around a hundred vehicles as different as LMP2 prototypes, DPi, LMGT and GT3 Grand Touring vehicles over the season’s 12 races is an immense challenge in terms of production and logistics
Chris Baker, Director of Michelin Motorsport North America

The IMSA tires are developed and manufactured at Clermont-Ferrand (France), like all MICHELIN Endurance racing tires, where technicians have genuine expertise in making these "hand-stitched” products.

 

For the Daytona race alone, this means a volume of 12,750 tires. This commitment to the IMSA allows Michelin to extend the scope of its “customer-competition” tire activity beyond Europe where the Brand is already well-established.

 

Michelin had to organize its production lines to match this two-fold challenge. We also recruited appropriate teams in Clermont-Ferrand as well as in Greenville (South Carolina, USA) where the 50 Team Technical Consultants are based. They are the people who track the products and advise the partner-teams throughout the season. Around a hundred Michelin engineers, technicians and assemblers work on the 24 Hours at Daytona race.

Launch of the Michelin Endurance Cup

  • 27 wins at 24 Hours of Le Mans, with 21 consecutive wins since 1998
  • 55 wins and 12 titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship
  • 143 wins and 28 titles in the American Le Mans Series
  • 42 wins and 18 titles in the European Le Mans Series
  • 25 wins in the American Le Mans Series
  • 18 wins in the 24 Hours of Nürburgring

The 2019 IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship calendar

  • January 26/27: Rolex 24 at Daytona (Daytona Beach, Florida) – 24 hours – all categories
  • March 10: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring (Sebring, Florida) – 12 hours – all categories
  • April 13: BUBBA Burger Sports-Car Grand Prix at Long Beach (California) – 1h40min – DPi, LMP2 & GTLM
  • May 5: Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio (Lexington, Ohio) – 2h40min – all categories
  • June 1st: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (Detroit, Michigan) – 1h40min – DPi, LMP2 & GTD
  • June 30: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (Watkins Glen, New York) – 6 hours – all categories
  • July 7: Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (Bowmanville, Ontario) – 2h40min – all categories
  • July 20: Northeast Grand Prix (Lakeville, Connecticut) – 2h40min – GT LM & GTD
  • August 4: Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin) – 2h40min – all categories
  • August 25: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR (Alton, Virginia) 2h40min – GT LM & GTD
  • September 15: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California) – 2h40min – all categories
  • October 12: Motul Petit Le Mans (Braselton, Georgia) – 10 hours – all categories

For more information

More Michelin racing news: Michelin Motorsport website

 

The IMSA website (in English or Spanish)

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