Formula E 2015/2016 - Quality performance from the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire in the streets of Buenos Aires
Round four of the 2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship in the centre of Buenos Aires took place in glorious summer weather as Michelin’s tires provided another faultless performance in the Argentine capital.
The major challenge faced by the teams, drivers and tires was naturally the heat as the thermometer climbed to 32°C and the temperature of the exacting track – which comprised a cocktail of hairpins, chicanes and faster portions – soared to 48°C.
“The conditions were similar to those of last year’s race in Buenos Aires, although marginally cooler since we had air and track temperatures of 35°C and 54°C in 2015,” notes Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “The Argentine ePrix was the 15th race since the championship was introduced and the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV has delivered satisfactory performance each time, from the chilly streets we encountered in Moscow to the stifling humidity of Malaysia and the searing heat in Buenos Aires. Our tire’s operating window is very broad and, if you dial in the fact that it is also capable of ensuring safe performance in wet weather, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV stands out as motor racing’s most versatile tire, not to mention the aggressive surface we faced in Berlin, the concrete slabs in Miami and the polished asphalt of Monaco.”
A tire in which the drivers can have confidence
A welcome cool breeze blew over the circuit just as the Buenos Aires ePrix was about to start at 4pm Saturday local time. Sébastien Buemi was forced to start from the back of the grid after a straight-on ruined his qualifying run but the Swiss driver went on to perform an exceptional fightback in his Renault e.dams. By the 10-lap mark, the championship leader – who clearly had the utmost confidence in his car and tires – had progressed from 18th to ninth place as DS-Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird successfully defended first place despite the constant threat of Lucas Di Grassi (Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport), with Jean-Eric Vergne (DS-Virgin Racing) also showing well. These three drivers all benefitted from the race’s FanBoost internet vote which gave them an extra burst of power for a period of five seconds.
At the halfway point, the top three featured Bird, Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams) and Di Grassi, chased by Stéphane Sarrazin (Venturi) and Buemi, now up to fifth. The order underwent further changes during the race’s second half, however, as Prost spun on Lap 20 and Buemi eased past Sarrazin with 12 laps remaining before picking off Di Grassi to go second with five laps left.
He then piled the pressure on Bird but the Briton held firm to earn DS Virgin Racing’s first Formula E success.
“We were already aware that the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV is capable of delivering high performance from start to finish with no fall off,” observed Serge Grisin. “But in addition to incredible pace we saw in Argentina, it is important to remember that the power output of this season’s cars has been raised from 150 to 170kW and that Jérôme D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) posted the fastest race lap in the final quarter of the distance (Lap 29). That is further evidence of the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV’s consistency and longevity, whatever the weather conditions.”
The next round of 2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship will take teams to Mexico City, Mexico, on March 12.
Technical data - MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV
Front: 24/64-18 / Rear: 27/68-18 (according to the system employed by MICHELIN Motorsport, i.e. tread width in centimetres / exterior diameter in centimetres / rim diameter in inches). That’s equivalent to road tire sizes of 255/40R18 (front) and 305/30R18 (rear), i.e. overall tire width (mm) / aspect ratio (sidewall-height to tire-width ratio) / rim diameter (inches). The letter ‘R’ signifies ‘radial’.
Because of its patterned tread and 18-inch interior diameter, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV resembles a road tire. Yet it packs numerous technologies that are currently being tested with a view to their being carried over to Michelin’s catalogue tires over the years ahead. The MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 that was revealed at last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and which is in the process of being launched, was the first Michelin production tire to benefit from the data collected during the inaugural Formula E Championship.