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Michelin and Porsche in endurance race partnership

The transfer of knowledge from motorsport to road is invaluable according to Michelin

 

Michelin will be Porsche’s technical partner in its 2014 endurance racing program. The company played a part in the development of the new Porsche 919 Hybrid by designing specially-adapted tires for the LMP1 class prototype. Developed on a simulator, the tires were refined during testing sessions conducted jointly between the two companys' technical teams, as is explained by Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin motorsport: “The exchange of information between the engineers at Porsche and Michelin resulted in the best possible synergy between our tires and the Stuttgart manufacturer’s prototype.”

Tires play a key role both in terms of performance and in the management of the quantity of energy allocated to 2014 FIA WEC competitors by the regulations. The energy efficiency of the LMP1 prototypes depends, amongst other factors, upon two fundamental parameters: their weight and their aerodynamic drag, both of which are significantly influenced by tires. In addition, the tires actively promote the car’s efficiency by working in synergy with the suspension. They need to be able to withstand the vehicle’s weight as well as its colossal aerodynamic loads, which can reach three times the mass of the car. Around certain circuits and on a dry track, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration generated by these prototypes can appreciably exceed 3G.

Michelin’s 2014 tires for LMP1 class prototypes are 15% narrower than before (between 5cm and 6cm narrower). This represents an improvement both in terms of weight (a saving of 8kg per set of four) and aerodynamic drag. Michelin claims these benefits are achieved without sacrificing either the performance or the durability of the tire.

Outside of the LMP1 program, Michelin is also partnering Porsche in the GTE Pro class, in which the auto make is continuing to field a brace of Porsche 911 RSRs run by Team Manthey. Having already seen victory at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours – where Michelin’s tires proved capable of covering three stints – the Franco-German alliance is this year targeting success in the FIA WEC, at Le Mans and in the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSC).

For both companies, Michelin says, motorsport only makes sense if it assists in the development of innovations that translate into technology for everyday tires. The Porsche 918 Spyder, the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Porsche Macan are also all equipped with Michelin rubber. For the 918 Spyder hybrid and the 911 GT3, the tire maker has designed new, specially-adapted Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

“The innovations honed through our participation in motorsport benefit Michelin’s entire research and development network. Michelin tires for Porsche’s current road car models contain technologies pioneered in the Le Mans 24 Hours less than three years ago,” concludes Couasnon.

 

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