The 24 Hours of Le Mans, innovation accelerator

Just 100 years ago, when equipping the car dreamt up by the engineers Chenard & Walcker at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1923, the challenge for Michelin was in demonstrating the viability and advantages of a removable tire to an audience passionate about motorsport. A done deal by winning the trial, with an average speed of 92 kph! The 24 Hours of Le Mans immediately became the race par excellence for Michelin, promoting technological progress. After the removable tire, it was the radial tire that asserted itself in the race in 1951, or the slick tire that, in 1967, was showcased on the Alpine A210, which completed a lap in under four minutes for the first time in its category and at the same time won the race for the 1600cc class.

With each technological evolution (motorization, introduction of disk brakes and aerodynamic appendages, etc.), Michelin demonstrates its unique innovative strength in order to constantly improve the long-term performances of its tires. Its 25 consecutive victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1998 are the best proof of this.

However, today, particularly facing the huge environmental challenges, Michelin’s commitment to Motorsport goes well beyond the trophies: the nature of race has changed.

Motorsport, an innovation accelerator that benefits the environment

The Group’s Research & Development choices that have made Michelin tires a longevity benchmark in terms of performance, are proving more than ever to be truly relevant regards the environmental challenges that are currently weighing heavy on the planet; the biggest environmental quality of an object is long-lasting performance. However, Michelin goes even further. This time, Michelin has set itself the challenge of a 100% sustainable tire, in particular by relying on motorsport; an approach that is quickly bearing fruit, since at the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin will unveil a competition tire that already includes 63% sustainable materials. We should point out that in 2021, it was also during the 24 Hours of Le Mans that Michelin announced the introduction of 46% sustainable materials in the tires equipping the GreenGT hydrogen car.

Michelin is therefore providing new proof of its capacity to put new breakthrough technologies into practice in order to integrate still more sustainable materials into its tires, without harming any of the tire’s performances and without worsening its environmental impact.

The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance 100% electric and the GreenGT hydrogen prototype will be fitted with the tire integrating 63% sustainable materials.

Sustainable tires: how is Michelin making the difference?

To Michelin, a tire presented as being “sustainable” can only really be so if all its environmental impacts are considered, and not just the integration of recycled or bio-sourced materials. In fact, Michelin is going much further by ensuring that the latter are renewable and that the technologies required to produce them consume less resources themselves and generate less carbon emissions than current processes. It is through this global environmental approach that Michelin makes the difference. Furthermore, Michelin sets its commitments by taking into consideration the real industrialization possibilities for these materials, for a large-scale rollout across all its commercial ranges.

MICHELIN tires integrating up to 58% sustainable materials are already homologated for road use, thanks to motorsport

The work on categorizing materials and referencing suppliers that has already been carried out by the Michelin motorsport teams has allowed for saving precious time in developing two road-approved tires integrating 45% and 58% sustainable materials, respectively.

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From left to right : the bus tire integrating 58% sustainable materials and the car tire integrating 45% sustainable materials.

A major technological advance, which has not escaped the tire industry experts, the academic world, and journalists, who have already presented Michelin with the Environmental Achievement of the Year - Tire Conception award during the Tire Technology Expo 2023.

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