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Le Mans 24 Hours: 15th consecutive victory for Michelin

Sport Published the 16/07/2012

By winning the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi gave Michelin its 15th consecutive victory at the most famous endurance race in the world. The two partners have been innovating together since 2000. In 2006, Michelin developed specific tyres for the diesel technology powered Audi’s. This year, Audi asked its partner to equip its diesel-electric hybrid prototypes. A winning combination since the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s finished on the podium.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Michelin tyres win Copyright © : Michelin

The Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer took their second consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours win. With this victory, Audi and Michelin claim their 5th all-Audi/Michelin podium since 2000!

Michelin tyres fitted to 32 of 56 cars at Le MansCopyright © : Michelin

For the 80th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the tyre manufacturer had set ambitious targets:

Claim a 15th consecutive victory at Le Mans. No other tyre manufacturer has ever achieved such a winning sequence. With this consistent performance, Michelin wanted to prove its sound strategy, based on a close collaboration with its partners and on-going product development. Mission accomplished.

Work with Audi and Toyota to bring hybrid technology to motor racing.  In 2006, Michelin designed special tyres to offer Audi a diesel technology triumph at Le Mans.  This year, Michelin equipped two of the world’s biggest car manufacturers who decided to use hybrid technology for the race: Audi and Toyota. Audi opted for a diesel-electric hybrid prototype with front wheel drive (the Audi e-tron Quattro); Toyota, making their return to Le Mans, opted for a petrol-electric hybrid prototype with rear wheel drive (the Toyota TS030 Hybrid).

Quadruple or quintuple stints in the LMP1 class. Two years ago, driver Anthony Davidson achieved the fastest quadruple stint in Le Mans history: 627 km at an average speed of 243 km/h with the same set of Michelin tyres on his Peugeot 908 HDI FAP. In 2011, the N°2 Audi R18 TDI claimed victory thanks to a quintuple stint by Benoit Treluyer with the same set of Michelin tyres (55 laps, i.e. 750 km without changing tyres). This year, Michelin offered its LMP1 partners the possibility to quadruple or quintuple stints – including prototypes (the Audi R18 ultra and e-tron Quattro, the Toyota TS030 Hybrid, the Dome S102.5...).

Remain the reference in the grand touring endurance class. In 2012, Michelin concentrated its efforts on the LMP1 and the LMGTE classes.  Due to their weight, performance and technical characteristics, Grand Touring Endurance cars are very demanding on tyres. They require special products, resulting from several years of experience and a long development process. This process directly benefits standard tyres designed for sporty models such as the Michelin Pilot Sport and the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. 

Michelin protoype tyres for the Nissan DeltawingCopyright © : Michelin

Explore the future with the Nissan Deltawing. The Nissan-DeltaWing prototype, which took part at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the "experimental" class, complied with the low consumption principles: Less weight, less fuel, less power for a similar performance to other cars. For the Nissan DeltaWing, Michelin designed tyres with a third of the width and half the weight of conventional tyres, but capable of running at 300 km/h and twice as long as LMP1 tyres. During the test day, the Nissan DeltaWing completed 53 laps (722 km) with the same set of tyres.


    > Relive the  2012 Le Mans 24 Hours race on Le Mans Live.

    Michelin is inventing a slick tyre for wet tracksCopyright © : Michelin

    Michelin invents the slick tyre suitable for a wet track.

    At Le Mans, Michelin introduced its new hybrid tyre, the “intermediate slick”, designed for cars competing in the LMP1 class. Developed with dimensions of 36/71-18 for front tyres and 37/71-18 for rear tyres, this racing tyre provides grip on wet or damp asphalt as well as on dry parts of the track.  

    It replaces the “intermediate” patterned tyres.