Porsche and MICHELIN establish a new outright lap record around the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife
The German manufacturer already held the outright lap record around the fearsome Nordschleife – ever since Stefan Bellof completed the 20.832km of ‘Green Hell’ in a time of 6m11.13s behind the wheel of his Porsche 956 to set pole position for the 1,000km of Nürburgring back in 1983. Thirty-five years on from that milestone achievement, Porsche has lowered the benchmark again courtesy of another German racer: Timo Bernhard. Behind the wheel of the Porsche 919 Evo – the model that sped to victory in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours three times in succession from 2015 to 2017 – Bernhard stopped the clock at just 5m19.55s, running on specially-developed Michelin tyres and without any mechanical or electronic restrictors.
This impressive feat comes only a month after Porsche’s sensational performance at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium where, in the hands of Neel Jani, the same car broke Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 Formula 1 lap record. The Swiss ace lapped the 7.004km Ardennes rollercoaster in a time of just 1m41.770s – almost eight tenths-of-a-second faster than the British driver’s best effort.
“When our partner Porsche told us about the Porsche 919 Tribute Tour, we jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this ambitious project. Above and beyond our existing relationship with Porsche – which has yielded three consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship crowns and Le Mans 24 Hours victories – we saw the Porsche 919 Tribute Tour as a new technological challenge for our racing tyres.
I wish to congratulate our partner Porsche and Timo Bernhard on this new record, set around one of the most iconic and demanding circuits in the world, and also the undisputed reference in Europe for measuring this type of achievement. I am proud that Michelin was able to contribute to Porsche’s extraordinary success, in providing tyres that are at the cutting-edge of both performance and safety.
Michelin accordingly embarked upon a development programme geared specifically around Porsche, with the stated objective of enhancing both the performance of its tyres by around 15 percent, as well as their ability to withstand far greater stresses than is traditionally the case in endurance racing. Indeed, the aerodynamic downforce generated by the Porsche 919 Evo is colossal, particularly through quick corners.
Michelin’s role as an official partner and ‘Full Range Supplier’ to Porsche allows the French manufacturer to incorporate lessons learned from its involvement in motorsport into the tyres it produces for the German carmaker’s road-going models.
The technology employed in the FIA World Endurance Championship, for example, enables Michelin to develop the tyres for cars used in Porsche’s various single-make series. Innovations tried-and-tested on the racetrack, meanwhile, speed up the production of Michelin road tyres, as evidenced most notably in the new MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4S N0 which was recently homologated for the Porsche 911 Carrera, 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman.