World Endurance Championships Michelin innovation serving great performance
From the moment the Group was created in 1889, Michelin has never ceased developing innovative high-performance tires. The World Endurance Championships has embodied this winning strategy over the years and is an ideal proving ground for the Group’s products.
Michelin’s partnerships in the World Endurance Championships testify to the Group’s open innovation policy
Michelin and Toyota, the world’s number one automaker, have been competing together for nearly twenty years now
They joined forces when the Japanese make officially returned to endurance racing in 2012.
Michelin has been supplying tires for Porsche since 1961
But their collaboration took on a new shape in the 2000s with Michelin joining Mobil1 as one of Porsche’s only two “cooperation partners”. The first agreement dates back to 2002; it went on to be renewed in 2005 then again in 2009 and a fourth term is currently under negotiation.
Michelin and Audi won the first two 8-race FIA World Endurance Championships
In 2006, Audi decided to put its TDi diesel technology to the test in the world’s most famous endurance race. Michelin was ready and waiting to take up this new racing challenge.
Audi Sport is raring to go, starting the FIA WEC 2015 season with an enhanced 5th generation R18. Their ambition is to regain the world title and remain the unchallenged winner of Le Mans.
Audi and Michelin both use the WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans to create technological bridges between racing and consumer vehicles with a view to reducing and optimizing fuel consumption, increasing tire lifespan, enhancing safety or developing green solutions.
Since 2000, Michelin and Audi can boast 13 shared victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 2015, Michelin signed a partnership agreement with Nissan
Partnership relating to the development and supply of tires for the Japanese automaker’s LM P1 endurance racing program.
From radial innovation to unmatched sporting performance
Michelin first raced a radial tire – a major innovation at the time – at the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1951. A Lancia Aurelia B20 GT fitted with radials came first in the S 2.0 category, ranking 12th overall.
In 1967, Michelin innovated again, this time by giving its partner Alpine the chance to fit radial slick tires on its A210s. The Grandsire/Rosinski team came top in the category in the 24 Hours of Le Mans the same year.
In 1978, Pironi/Jaussaud’s Renault-Alpine A442B – also racing on radial slicks – was the outright winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Michelin and Audi push through diesel technology
In 2006, Michelin addressed a major technological challenge with the Audi R10 TDI. Teams of engineers, chemists and designers from Michelin R&D spent two years developing special tires for the Audi R10 TDI. Their hard work paid off at Le Mans and the experience gained subsequently benefited the other LMP1 prototypes.
Michelin backs the Nissan-DeltaWing in 2012
Michelin did not just supply the tires; it was a fully-fledged partner in this visionary project. The Group needed to develop revolutionary tires which went completely against the current trend: lighter and smaller tires capable of reaching 300 km/h and safely ploughing through the laps.
The front tires of the Nissan-DeltaWing (10/58-15) were three times narrower than those of the conventional LMP1 prototypes and only weighed 5 kg, compared to 13 kg for LMP1 tires.
Sooner or later, the solutions invented for the DeltaWing tires will end up in mass-produced tires.