Dakar 2015: Peugeot vehicles sport MICHELIN D15 tires
The world's most famous all-terrain rally
The last time Peugeot and Michelin joined forces was at the Dakar in 1990, which Ari Vatanen won with the Peugeot 405 T16 Grand-Raid. A quarter of a century later, the two partners are together again for the world's most famous all-terrain rally, now run in South America.
A lengthy design and development process
The three Peugeot 2008 DKR vehicles are fitted with MICHELIN D15 tires. Design work on the tires began in early 2014, using the specifications drawn up by Peugeot Sport. The dimensions (37x12.5 R17) are the maximum allowed under the ASO rules.
The Michelin Group already had a product with the same dimensions in its range for buggies. It had to be adapted to meet the specs of the Peugeot 2008 DKE, which is lighter and less powerful, and has a diesel engine with much more torque. It also had to be adjusted to handle the very varied terrains found in South America, from the punishing tracks of Argentina to the giant dunes in the Atacama Desert.
Five concept tires on offer
The aim was to strike the right compromise between grip and longevity. In fact, only the tread of the original tire was retained. MICHELIN Motorsport engineers and developers radically altered the architecture and the rubber compound.
After a month of CAD design work, the MICHELIN D15 tire was tested for the first time on the Peugeot 2008 DKR in July 2014 on the tracks in the south of France, said to be very harsh on tires. Michelin supplied five different prototype tires for this round of tests. One of the five was unanimously approved by the drivers and engineers.
Good performances, even in extreme conditions
The first stages of the Dakar Rally confirmed that the MICHELIN D15 tires performed well, even in the extreme heat experienced in Argentina, where ground temperatures of close to 60°C were recorded at the foot of the Andes Cordillera.
Preparing for the 2016 edition
Work on developing the tires and the Peugeot 2008 DKR will continue in 2015, with numerous rounds of tests and at least one practice race (the China Grand Rally) scheduled before the 2016 edition of the Dakar. For the MICHELIN Motorsport engineers and developers, the aim will be to offer its partner greater performances while maintaining the new D15 tire's longevity and robustness.
The MICHELIN D15 tire underwent intensive testing in the south of France, then in Morocco in October 2014. These tests confirmed the MICHELIN tire's longevity over runs of more than 500 kilometers.
After that, small-scale production began in view of the race itself. In late November, about 100 MICHELIN D15 tires boarded ship in Le Havre, along with all the Peugeot-Total team's equipment.