Formula E 2014/2015: Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires unfazed by the streets of Miami

Round five of the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship on Saturday, March 15, took place in typically glorious Miami spring sunshine. It was the perfect weather to welcome the championship’s three newcomers, namely Frenchman Loïc Duval, winner of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours with Audi who was racing for Andretti Autosport, Italian ex-F1 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi, who got a call from Trulli Racing two days before the ePrix while holidaying in Florida to replace Michela Cerruti, and the USA’s Scott Speed, another new Andretti Autosport recruit.
Formula e Miami 2015

The Miami ePrix took place round a temporary circuit in the city’s Biscayne district which circumnavigated the multisport American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA basketball team the Miami Heats.

The track surface ranged from asphalt to concrete, but the biggest challenge for the drivers and tires lay elsewhere… “Having to cope with the painted road markings and railway tracks of Miami’s public transport network was unprecedented,” observed Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “That said, this new type of street circuit is a perfect fit for the modern, innovative, high-tech spirit behind the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire which combines performance, efficiency and strength whatever the weather or track conditions.”

In order to facilitate the carrying over from technologies from race track to street, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV features an interior diameter of 18 inches, the only size seen in single-seater racing today capable of collecting dependable data for the development of road tires. Furthermore, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV’s tread compound is designed to deliver high performance and longevity on dry and wet roads alike. Formula E competitors use the same tires for free practice, qualifying and the race.

The first free practice session for the Miami ePrix was cancelled and the second was delayed when the Miami city workers needed extra time to prepare the temporary track. However, qualifying highlighted the outstanding level of the drivers who had little time to familiarise themselves with the venue. The top three (Jean-Eric Vergne/Andretti, Nelson Piquet Jr/China Racing and Nicolas Prost/e.dams-Renault) were covered by just two-tenths of a second, while the top 13 (of 20 drivers) lapped within a second of the pole-winner! They were helped by the consistency of the performance delivered by the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV the instant it joins the track.

Another entertaining race

The 39-lap race produced several leader changes and some spectacular overtaking manoeuvres before Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) claimed his first victory in the new championship, ahead of Formula E debutant Scott Speed (Andretti Autosport) and Daniel Abt (Audi Sport Abt).

“The circuit was quite a challenge, but the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV was unfazed by the difficulty and allowed the drivers to compete on a level playing field,” noted Serge Grisin. “As we have seen since the beginning of the series, the rate of wear at the chequered flag was very low.”

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire effectively took the railway tracks, surface changes, concrete, asphalt and thick painted road markings in its stride from the moment action started start to the chequered flag.

The next round of the FIA Formula E Championship will take teams to Long Beach, California, USA, on April 4, 2015.

Review highlights of the race