Michelin’s latest range of endurance racing tyres contributed to a long list of new records when 2019/2020 FIA WEC action kicked off with the 4 Hours of Silverstone. The British round was won by the N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) which also topped Saturday’s qualifying when Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi posted an average lap time of 1m36.015s – a gain of eight-tenths of a second over 2018’s pole-winning effort in comparable conditions. However, the improvement in lap times was most notable in LMP2 which saw the N°29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07-Gibson of Van Eerd/Van der Garde/Van Uitert clock a 1m40.948s in qualifying, which was practically four seconds quicker than the best time posted in 2018 by the similar, TDS Racing-run car.
Race lap records also tumbled and Toyota’s Mike Conway secured the afternoon’s fastest lap with a 1m37.289s, almost 2.3 seconds faster than Kamui Kobayashi’s benchmark in 2018 in the same car.
It is worth recalling that the British track was resurfaced prior to last season’s 6 Hours of Silverstone and has since been resurfaced again, leading to greater consistency.
The 2019/2020 campaign’s opener was Michelin’s first opportunity to evaluate its latest range of endurance racing tyres in race conditions. Working in close collaboration with the manufacturers and teams involved in the FIA WEC, Michelin Motorsport’s engineers have sought to match the recent progress made by the cars, while also addressing the constraints associated with the championship’s new-look calendar.