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WEC 2018/2019 - 6H of Silverstone - Michelin rises successfully to Silverstone challenge

AFor the first time in 22 years, Silverstone Circuit was entirely resurfaced at the beginning of 2018. This work clearly has an impact on tyres which are the only part of the cars that come into direct contact with the ground. The Michelin range developed for the whole of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship – and which is registered with the FIA – feature sophisticated technology in order to deliver the level of safety, performance, consistency and energy efficiency required for world class endurance racing.

Silverstone has always been one of the championship’s most exacting venues and the track’s resurfacing had understandable repercussions for Michelin as it prepared for the event in close collaboration with its partners during the weeks that led up to the race. “It was as though it was our first ever visit to Silverstone. True, we have plenty of previous experience of this track which makes bigger demands of the left-hand side tyres but we had very little else to go on following its resurfacing,” noted Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes. “The data we were able to collect during the private test we attended at Silverstone at the end of July allowed us to evaluate the impact on our tyres and suggested that the new asphalt would not be particularly hard-wearing. However, the temperatures reached by the track seemed insufficiently representative of what we might expect for the race itself for us to come to any definitive conclusions.”
As it turned out, the 2018 6 Hours of Silverstone took place in conditions that were far more typical of the region (covered skies with bright intervals and ground temperatures of between 20°C and 30°C) and this allowed Michelin’s engineers to complete their analytical work.

Our tyres proved competitive and durable, both in the ELMS race – which saw our partners claim second and third places – and in the FIA WEC clash which produced some fierce scraps, especially in the LM GTE classes. Now that we have solid information about the new surface at Silverstone, we will be able to dial this data into the development of our tyres for the 2019/2020 campaign.

Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes

As it turned out, the 2018 6 Hours of Silverstone took place in conditions that were far more typical of the region (covered skies with bright intervals and ground temperatures of between 20°C and 30°C) and this allowed Michelin’s engineers to complete their analytical work. “Our tyres proved competitive and durable, both in the ELMS race – which saw our partners claim second and third places – and in the FIA WEC clash which produced some fierce scraps, especially in the LM GTE classes,” added Jérôme Mondain. “Now that we have solid information about the new surface at Silverstone, we will be able to dial this data into the development of our tyres for the 2019/2020 campaign.”
The 6 Hours of Silverstone were dominated by Toyota’s two TS050 Hybrids which topped the order after Saturday’s qualifying session before going on to earn the Japanese make’s third one-two finish in a row. The race was won by the N°8 car of Buemi/Nakajima/Alonso who were followed over the line by Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez in the N°7 sister prototype. Rebellion Racing claimed the third step of the podium with the N°3 R13-Gibson shared by Bêche/Laurent/Menezes.
The closely contested LM GTE Pro battle was won by AF Corse’s N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE (Pier Guidi/Calado), ahead of the N°91 Porsche 911 RSR (Lietz/Bruni) and N°67 Ford GT (Priaulx/Tincknell). Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche all took turns at the front of the field as a function of their different pit-stop strategies but the experienced Italian squad emerged in the lead as the order settled down.

The LM GTE Am class saw the N°77 Porsche 911 RSR (Dempsey-Proton Racing, Ried/Andlauer/Campbell) take the spoils, ahead of the N°90 Aston Martin Vantage (TF Sport, Yoluc/Adam/Eastwood) and the Team Project 1-run Porsche 911 RSR of Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti.
The next round of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship will take teams to Fuji Speedway, Japan, on October 12-14.


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