The fifth round of the shortened 2020 FIA World Rally Championship produced an action-filled weekend, with some thrilling battles up and down the field on the gravel tracks in southwest Turkey’s Marmaris region where the country’s WRC fixture has been based since 2018.

 

The event ran to a shorter format than in 2019, with just 12 tests (instead of 17) totalling 223 kilometres compared with 310km last year. The pandemic was obviously behind these changes which enabled the rally to go ahead safely, albeit without spectators, either on the stages or in the service area.

 

As anticipated, the hard-compound MICHELIN LTX Force H4 was the most frequently selected tyre over the three days, but the medium MICHELIN LTX Force M6 formed part of some strategies for the first passes on Saturday and Sunday morning. Michelin Motorsport’s WRC tyres stood up to the exceptionally rough going, providing the French firm’s WRC partners with the confidence to push where they could.

 

Meanwhile, Michelin’s WRC2 and WRC3 runners were offered a choice between the hard MICHELIN Latitude H90 and medium MICHELIN Latitude Cross M80 which allowed them, too, to take full advantage of the company’s rally-tyre range.

A 23rd consecutive victory for Michelin at Le Mans 24 Hours
• Grand Slam: Michelin wins all four categories
• Tyre longevity record achieved by Gustavo Menezes (Rebellion)
• Flawless tyre performance and consistency in LMP2
• Fewer tyres consumed, more distance covered with Toyota Gazoo Racing

At 2:30pm CEST today (Sunday, September 20), the N°8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid crewed by Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima took the chequered flag to win the 88th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Second place fell to the N°1 Rebellion R13 Gibson of Norman Nato, Gustavo Menezes and Bruno Senna, with the N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid shared by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López coming home third to make it an all-Michelin podium. The result also marked the third consecutive triumph in the event for Toyota Gazoo Racing.

 

In LMP2 – a category in which Michelin was battling against another manufacturer – the United Autosports-run N°22 Oreca 07 Gibson emerged on top in the hands of Paul Di Resta, Filipe Albuquerque and Philip Hanson, underscoring yet again the superiority of Michelin tyres in longdistance races.

 

In the LMGTE Pro class – in which all competitors chose Michelin as their tyre partner – a sustained and intense duel for glory between Ferrari and Aston Martin was one of the big stories of the weekend. In the end, the N°97 AMR Aston Martin Vantage (Alexander Lynn, Maxime Martin and Harry Tincknell) pipped AF Corse’s N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO (James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra) to the top prize, while the N°95 AMR Aston Martin Vantage (Marco Sørensen, Nikki Thiim and Richard Westbrook) crossed the line in third place.

 

In LMGTE Am, finally, victory went the way of the N°30 TF Sport crew (Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc) in an AMR Aston Martin Vantage. They finished ahead of the N°77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (Matt Campbell, Riccardo Pera and Christian Ried) and the N°83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of Emmanuel Collard, Nicklas Nielsen and François Perrodo.

 

Ultimately, Michelin was the biggest winner of this somewhat extraordinary edition of the round-theclock La Sarthe classic, since the French firm ended up with a clean sweep of victories across all four classes.

For the first time in its long history, this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours will take place behind closed doors, with neither spectators, sponsors nor partners in attendance. The other big difference is the event’s date-shift from June 13-14 to September 19-20, meaning a significantly greater proportion of the race will be run in the dark. Finally, rather than starting at its usual 3pm slot, the French classic will get underway half-an-hour earlier, at 2:30pm. All of these changes – particularly those relating to the timetable and possible differences in the weather, not to mention Covid-19 hygiene measures – have impacted on Michelin Motorsport’s preparations for the event. Our plan effectively had to be adjusted in order to ensure everybody’s health and safety. One thing hasn’t changed, however, and that’s the moment everybody is eagerly awaiting, when the adrenaline rush begins as Michelin’s engineers and staff finally get to the circuit. They might be wearing masks, but the broad smiles behind them will testify to the passion that drives each and every one of them!
Matthieu Bonardel, Michelin Motorsport Director

A unique event on the motorsport calendar

More than any other race, Le Mans poses a unique challenge that demands maximum commitment from all those involved. And every year, it offers Michelin a fresh opportunity to showcase the longlasting performance qualities of its products, while taking onboard the importance of the drivers’ confidence in how their tyres will perform from the start of the race all the way to the chequered flag. In racing, just as it does in relation to its road tyres, Michelin makes the same performance-made-tolast pledge to its partners and customers, in the knowledge that it has won Le Mans 28 times – including an ongoing run of 22 victories in a row.

 

A tyre’s overall performance does not merely concern its road-holding ability. It is also measured by the safety its delivers by enabling the short stopping distances, as well as its directional precision and traction characteristics in all types of conditions. These same essential parameters apply in racing, too, since they enable drivers to transmit the power of their cars to the ground in the most efficient way possible, whether the track is dry or wet.

 

A balanced performance package is vital to allow drivers maintain their rhythm and pace from one stint to the next and also run multiple stints on the same set of  tyres. Being able to rely on rubber that consistently runs at its anticipated level of performance is fundamental to inspiring confidence behind the wheel and achieving results on the track. In the complex situation in which we find ourselves today, and given the associated influence it has had on our routines, it is more important than ever to provide the drivers with tyres that instil peace of mind out on the circuit, particularly given that the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours will take place at an unusual time of year and in different weather and daylight conditions to normal. Thankfully, Michelin’s new range of endurance racing tyres – launched back at the beginning of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship – has the situation covered.

FIA World Rally Championship action resumed this weekend with Rally Estonia, a newcomer to the WRC calendar which featured some extremely fast stages in and around the country’s forests and lakes. This cocktail has made it something of a favourite amongst the sport’s stars who, in recent years, have used it to prepare for Rally Finland which is just a hop over the Baltic and infamous for its similar roads.

 

Based in the central city of Tartu, Estonia’s second biggest, with a population of 100,000, the rally ran to an unfamiliar compact format for a WRC round in order to comply with the sanitary measures put into place by its organisers and the FIA (Fédération International de l’Automobile). Following Friday evening’s opener, 10 of the weekend’s 17 tests took place on Saturday and the vast majority of the 232.64 competitive kilometres spanned just two days, making it something of a sprint for the drivers and exceptionally challenging for their cars and tyres.

The drivers were clearly pleased to be back at the ever-popular seven-kilometre circuit but it turned out to be a particularly busy week for the teams and Michelin Motorsport alike, with all the players setting themselves ambitious objectives ahead of the fast-approaching Le Mans 24 Hours in September.
Although strict sanitary measures made everyone’s work more complex than usual, Saturday’s changing weather conditions provided the Michelin’s development specialists with an opportunity to run and evaluate all the different types of tyre that were available for the Belgian classic.
“I think we can be pleased with the job we did at Spa-Francorchamps,” commented Pierre Alves, the manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programmes. “The conditions were perfectly dry for the week’s three free practice sessions on Thursday, and then for qualifying on Friday, but the grip levels were surprisingly low. This had a big effect on lap times and we saw differences as big as four seconds compared with the times posted at the same fixture in 2019. The long break from racing clearly had an influence on the surface of the track which is situated in the middle of a pine forest, and we will take this into account when we analyse all the data we collected at Spa.”
The race itself took place in particularly fickle weather and heavy rain forced the organisers to delay the start by several minutes for safety reasons. After lights-out, the poor visibility resulting from the spray thrown up by the cars led to the first three laps taking place behind the Safety Car. When the pack was eventually unleashed, Toyota Gazoo Racing and AF Corse Ferrari adapted swiftly to the slippery conditions to emerge as the early front-runners in LMP1 and LMGTE Pro, aided by the ability of Michelin’s rain tyres to clear up to 120 litres of water per second.
With the first half-hour completed, the thick cloud cover began to make way for a little sunshine which allowed the racing line to dry out quite quickly. Toyota Gazoo Racing was the first team to switch one of its cars – the N°7 TS050 Hybrid (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) – to slicks as the field pitted for the first wave of refuelling stops, an hour into the race. Mike Conway was immediately faster, so the N°8 prototype was similarly equipped with slicks shortly afterwards and, before long, the entire field had followed suit.
At around the two-hour mark, however, another shower prompted a return to wet-weather rubber for the third stint when an increasingly heavier downpour led to the Safety Car being despatched again.

The racing was interrupted for the next 30 minutes and only resumed at the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps’ halfway point, prompting some exciting battles in the bunched-up pack. Very soon, all the cars were lapping on slick tyres once more as lap times began to tumble on the now-dry track. First place traded hands in both LMGTE classes, but Toyota Gazoo Racing (LMP1) and Racing Team Nederland (LMP2) managed to consolidate their respective leads.
With 90 minutes to go, though, Paul Di Resta’s pace allowed the United Autosports prototype to ease past the Racing Team Nederland car (Fris Van Eerd) to take control in LMP2. Ten minutes later, Thomas Laurent (Alpine A470-Gibson) began to put the Dutchman under pressure, too, but the Frenchman ended up making a mistake and left the track. To allow the marshals to clear up afterwards, Race Control decided to send out the Safety Car briefly for a third time.
The green flag reappeared with 45 minutes to go and Kazuki Nakajima (N°8 Toyota) found himself in a position to challenge for the day’s win, but his attempt was thwarted by the need to make one last pit stop and it was the N°7 Toyota that took the chequered flag in first place. The two Toyotas were joined on the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps podium by the N°1 Rebellion R13-Gibson (Senna/Menezes/Nato).
In LMP2, United Autosports went on to claim an assertive victory, while Cool Racing and Racing Team Nederland made it an all-Michelin top-three in this class which allows open competition between tyre firms.
The LMGTE Pro win went to the N°92 Porsche 911 RSR (Christensen/Estre), chased by the N°97 (Lynn/Martin) and N°95 (Sorensen/Thiim) Aston Martin Vantages. The LMGTE Am spoils went to the N°83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE, ahead of the N°77 Dempsey-Proton Racing-tended Porsche 911 RSR and TF Sport’s N°90 Aston Martin Vantage.

“I would like to congratulate our partners in all four classes for the huge efforts they made in what proved to be extremely difficult working conditions,” underlined Pierre Alves. “We are proud to have provided them with effective support, and at the same time we managed to achieve all the technical objectives we set ourselves in Belgium. A big bravo to everyone at Michelin Motorsport for their untiring work at the two back-to-back races [ELMS and FIA WEC] at Spa-Francorchamps.”

The 2019-2020 FIA Formula E Championship has just come to an end after a series of six races on the runways of Berlin's historic Tempelhof Airport. Six E-Prix in just nine days, organised to conclude a season that started in late 2019 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and then moved on to 2020 through Santiago de Chile (Chile), Mexico City (Mexico) and Marrakech (Morocco), before taking a long break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This very intense end of the season tested all the teams, who rose to the challenge with flying colours, and finally enabled Antonio Felix Da Costa and his team DS Techeetah, partners of Michelin, to clinch the Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles. For Michelin Motorsport, this ambitious sequence required unprecedented efforts and a technical and logistics center was set up in the German capital at the end of July.
“Given the local rules and the sanitary measures that were put into place for the meeting, we took just six fitters, just as we would have done to an ordinary E-Prix, while we accompanied our partners through six Formula E events and seven in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy! " said Jérôme Mondain, Michelin's Formula E manager. "The women and men of Michelin Motorsport then mounted, balanced, inflated and dismounted 1,300 tires. Over such a short period of time, it was a real challenge brilliantly met by our team, which I would like to congratulate for its commitment and performance. We wanted to document this exceptional work and share it with fans through videos published on Michelin's social networks.”
The last two E-Prix of the season took place around a new 2.505-kilometre circuit which was 150 metres longer than the usual Tempelhof arrangement, with 16 instead of 10 turns. “The additional corners were all slow, so they placed bigger demands on the traction performance of our tyres,” notes Jérôme Mondain. “The decision to lower the minimum authorised tyre pressure from 1.3 to 1.1 bar that we took together with the FIA after the first two Berlin E-Prix proved a positive step not only for the quality of the show but also for the drivers who benefited from even greater consistency during the last two races, despite the repeated hard reacceleration that was required out of the revised layout’s tight turns. There is little doubt that our tyres played a real part in the success of the season’s exceptional finale.”
Michelin’s Formula E tyre is the same whatever the circuit, whatever the weather, whatever the temperature and whatever the humidity level.

It is also the only single-seater racing tyre that is capable of racing in dry and wet conditions alike, as showcased during the fourth Berlin E-Prix which was marked by a mid-race shower in the course of which the lap times were the same as they had been previously in the dry.
On top of that, Michelin’s Formula E tyre is capable of taking extremely hot track temperatures in excess of 60°C in its stride, like those encountered at last season’s Santiago E-Prix in Chile, as well as ground temperatures as low as 5°C, as was the case during the first free practice session for the Marrakech E-Prix in Morocco, a matter of weeks afterwards. The ability of this tyre to be safe and efficient on all types of surface and in all weathers was once again praised this season by all the drivers.
The result of five years of research, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport for Formula E is also a champion of energy efficiency, thanks to its low rolling resistance, in addition to being virtuous thanks to its mass reduced by 9 kg per set of tyres compared with the first version, launched in 2013 and already considered as light.
The penultimate race of the season (on Wednesday, August 12) was won by Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams), ahead of Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) and René Rast (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler).
The winner of the 2019/2020 campaign’s final clash (Thursday, August 13) was Stoffel Vandoorne who was joined on the podium by his Mercedes-Benz EQ team-mate Nyck de Vries and Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams).
The 2019/2020 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, for which Michelin was the exclusive tyre supplier, was won by New Zealander Simon Evans (Team Asia New Zealand).
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s seventh season will kick off in Santiago, Chile, on January 16, 2021.

MICHELIN Pilot Sport for Formula E: the first connected tyre in motor sport

For the first time this season, Michelin has introduced a connected tyre in Formula E, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport equipped with the Michelin Track Connect system. This innovation is in line with the Group's development strategy, which already markets a Michelin Track Connect solution for Track Days enthusiasts. Michelin's goal is to extend the benefits of digital technologies applied to tyres to mass production vehicles, in order to provide the car and its driver with useful information, particularly in terms of safety and energy efficiency.
Michelin Track Connect for Formula E allows tyre pressures to be monitored automatically and reliably – whether hot or cold. This new solution addresses a demand expressed by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), which has incorporated its use into Formula E’s regulations. It also meets a requirement of the teams and the championship’s promoter.

Michelin Track Connect for Formula E uses a Michelin-designed and developed sensor embedded in a specific casing inside the MICHELIN Pilot Sport tyres which feature in the series. The data it collects is transmitted in encrypted form to the FIA and Michelin, who are the only recipients. Not only does this make sure that the information remains confidential, but it also allows the FIA to check minimum tyre pressures are adhered to. In addition to saving time, it is additional reassurance for the teams and helps to streamline the running of race days.

Driven by Porsche test driver, Lars Kern, the Panamera was fitted with 275/35 ZR 21 front and 325/30 ZR 21 rear MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 ND0 tires, which have been developed for the new Panamera and will be available as an option following the car’s market launch.

 

Speaking after setting the lap time, Lars Kern said: ‘The car’s improved lateral dynamics and the increased grip level of the new Michelin PS Cup 2 tires had a major effect at the Schwedenkreuz. Here I managed to reach cornering speeds that I previously would not have thought possible with the Panamera.’

 

Already fitted as original equipment to numerous class-leading cars produced by the German manufacturer, including the 918 Spyder, Cayman GT4, 911 GT3 and GT3 RS, and the 911 GT2 RS the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires feature technologies developed at the highest levels of motor sport. These technologies are available to road drivers – enabling them to benefit from the highest levels of durability, grip, handling and safety.

 

These developments include multi-compound technology and casing designs which ensure very high and consistent grip levels in a variety of weather conditions, and tire rigidity for exceptional steering precision, balance and handling. As a result, passionate drivers benefit from a unique combination of safety and driving enjoyment that makes the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires suitable for everyday road use, as well as in very demanding conditions on the racetrack.

 

During the co-development of these tires by Michelin and Porsche engineers, they were optimised and fine-tuned to suit the characteristics demanded by Porsche for the new Panamera. This resulted in tires which not only offer very high grip levels, consistent performance and excellent front/rear balance, but which crucially still conform to European regulations concerning rolling resistance (R117-2).

  • Berlin’s former Berlin Tempelhof: a single venue, three different track layouts
  • Plenty of on-track action, but with even fewer Michelin tyres
  • Three generations of innovative MICHELIN Pilot Sport Formula E tyres with successive gains in terms of versatility/longevity, energy efficiency and low weight
  • MICHELIN Pilot Sport sizes
  • MICHELIN Track Connect: motorsport’s first connected system
  • Michelin’s Everything Sustainable plan in favour of the environment

Just days after the 2019/2020 ABB FIA Formula E Championship resumed last week with the first two of the six Berlin E-Prix planned over a period of nine days, the teams, drivers and Michelin were back in action this weekend at the German capital’s former Tempelhof Airport for Rounds 8 and 9 which proved just as entertaining.

After boosting his chances with victories from pole position on Wednesday and Thursday, Antonio Felix Da Costa succeeded in his bid to clinch the 2019/2020 Drivers’ crown today (Sunday) in his Michelin-equipped DS Techeetah, with two rounds remaining.

The combination of the Portuguese driver’s second place and the win of his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne on Sunday has also made sure that the Constructors title will go to DS Techeetah.

Congratulations to Antonio Felix Da Costa and DS Techeetah on their extraordinary performance. It’s been a challenging season and it hasn’t been easy to maintain a strong, consistent rhythm, but this is the first time the Formula E Drivers’ title has been wrapped up ahead of the final round. Michelin Motorsport is delighted to have successfully provided the drivers with a tyre that has been up to the high standard demanded of it and enabled them to focus on their racing.
Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme

The weather for both of this weekend’s e-prix was hotter than it was for Rounds 6 and 7, with air and track temperatures in excess of 30°C and 40°C respectively as the 24 drivers lapped the same 2.355-kilometre, 10-turn circuit as last week, but this time run anticlockwise, which is the layout they have become familiar with over the years.

In contrast to the series’ previous trips to the German capital, the first two races used a clockwise version of the 2.355-kilometre, 10-turn circuit, but the 24 drivers had to cope with the same, notoriously hard-wearing surface, although the track’s width provides good overtaking opportunities.

In addition to the exceptional circumstances associated with this season’s finale, the championship’s organisers and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) decided to spice up the competition a little by reducing the tyre allocation per driver by 25 percent, with just three sets available instead of four for each of the three pairs of e-prix. This decision fits perfectly with the spirit that drives the all-electric series which actively promotes the protection of the environment, a value it shares with Michelin.

“Although this new measure added to the challenge faced by the teams in terms of strategy, it had no negative impact on the quality of the show provided by the first two E-Prix in Berlin,” notes Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “The drivers were able to race at their own pace thanks to the wise management of their quotas by their respective teams who switched between new and part-worn tyres. Many of them, but not all, chose to keep the tyres they used in qualifying for the race. We know this venue quite well because the championship has been here several times since the very first season, so we were confident the current MICHELIN Pilot Sport – which raced here in 2019 – would be up to the job. In fact, wear turned out not to be an issue and most of the drivers posted their fastest race laps towards the end of the races to provide yet another illustration of our tyres’ exceptional versality.”

The current-generation MICHELIN Pilot Sport Formula E tyre is effectively capable of delivering top performance whatever the weather conditions, not to mention its fast warm-up characteristics, resistance to wear, high grip and consistency, while its low rolling resistance contributes to the range of the championship’s all-electric single-seater cars. On top of that, the track and air temperatures in Berlin reached close to 40°C and 30°C respectively.

The first of the 2019/2020 calendar’s six Berlin E-Prix, on August 5, was won by Antonio Felix Da Costa (DS Techeetah), ahead of André Lotterer (Tag Heuer Porsche Motorsport) and Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing).

The winner of the second race (August 6) was Antonio Felix Da Costa, chased over the line by Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) and Lucas de Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler).

The timetable for the second pair of races (on Saturday, August 8, and Sunday, August 9) will be identical to the first, with free practice in the morning, followed by qualifying in the afternoon and the e-prix themselves starting at 7:03pm local time. The circuit will be the same, too, although this time it will be run anticlockwise.

 

MICHELIN Pilot Sport for Formula E: the first connected tyre in motor sport

For the first time this season, Michelin has introduced a connected tyre in Formula E, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport equipped with the Michelin Track Connect system. This innovation is in line with the Group's development strategy, which already markets a Michelin Track Connect solution for Track Days enthusiasts. Michelin's goal is to extend the benefits of digital technologies applied to tyres to mass production vehicles, in order to provide the car and its driver with useful information, particularly in terms of safety and energy efficiency.
Michelin Track Connect for Formula E allows tyre pressures to be monitored automatically and reliably – whether hot or cold. This new solution addresses a demand expressed by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), which has incorporated its use into Formula E’s regulations. It also meets a requirement of the teams and the championship’s promoter.

Michelin Track Connect for Formula E uses a Michelin-designed and developed sensor embedded in a specific casing inside the MICHELIN Pilot Sport tyres which feature in the series. The data it collects is transmitted in encrypted form to the FIA and Michelin, who are the only recipients. Not only does this make sure that the information remains confidential, but it also allows the FIA to check minimum tyre pressures are adhered to. In addition to saving time, it is additional reassurance for the teams and helps to streamline the running of race days.

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