FIA WEC

Le Mans 2017: Toyota/Michelin grabs history-making pole!

The final evening of Le Mans qualifying turned out to be a landmark occasion with drivers setting new qualifying records up and down the classes. Toyota/Michelin’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 TS050-Hybrid, Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) stunned his rivals early on with a 3m14.791. That not only took the wind out of Porsche’s sails but also goes down as the fastest ever lap in Le Mans history. There were record performances, too, in LMP2 (N°26 Oreca), LM GTE Pro (N°97 Aston Martin) and LM GTE Am (N°50 Chevrolet/Michelin).

FIA WEC

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota/Michelin dominates Test Day

The top three places at Sunday’s official pre-Le Mans Test Day were monopolised by Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin prototypes. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota) bettered the 2016 pole-winning time, while Michelin runners also dominated the LM GTE Pro class with Corvette and Porsche.

FIA WEC

6 Hours of Shanghai (WEC): the title chases come to a head

The 6 Hours of Shanghai, penultimate round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, could see Porsche and Michelin wrap up this year’s titles in the WEC’s premier class.

Porsche Team enjoys a 59-point lead in the Manufacturers’ table and could make sure of its second straight crown in China where the Michelin-equipped Porsche 919 Hybrids were dominant last season. There will be two cars this time around, for Bernhard/Webber/Hartley (N°1) and Drivers’ championship leaders Dumas/Jani/Lieb (N°2).

Audi, which recently announced its withdrawal from the WEC at the end of the year, will be keen on scoring its 108th prototype victory with its tyre partner Michelin since 2000. The make will be represented by two crews, namely Duval/Di Grassi/Jarvis (N°8 Audi R18/Michelin) and Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (N°7).

Toyota Gazoo Racing will be looking to build on its recent victory on home soil at Fuji. Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi (N°6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin) are currently second in the Drivers’ standings, while their Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (N°5) will be hoping for a switch in their recent fortunes.

The fight for the LM GTE Pro titles is equally close, with Ferrari/Michelin three points clear of Aston Martin. Ford/Michelin is still in the running, too. AF Corse, which has never won at Shanghai, will have Michelin-equipped Ferrari 488s for Bruni/Calado (N°51) and Rigon/Bird (N°71).

The Italian outfit also tops the LM GTE Am Endurance Trophy with its N°83 Ferrari/Michelin and could secure the title this weekend. The N°98 Aston Martin/Michelin is on a run of three straight victories, however. In LM P2, Signatech-Alpine could wrap up the Teams’ and Drivers’ crowns in Shanghai, as well, with its N°36 prototype and Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi.

Shanghai International Circuit (5.451km), which has hosted the FIA WEC since 2012, features two long straights, several fast curves and three particularly tight turns (1, 6 and 14). Engineers consequently look essentially for good top speed and stability under braking. Finding the ideal aero balance can be complex and tyre choices are dependent on the chosen settings. There can be significant rear tyre wear because of the frequent hard acceleration from low speed, and the front-left covers also face a hard time.

Free practice will start on Friday, November 4, followed by qualifying early Saturday afternoon. Sunday’s race will start at 11am local time and a field of 32 cars is expected.

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Rossi returns to winning ways at Assen

Sunday’s Motul Assen TT, round eight of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, was won by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Second and third were fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Prama Racing) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 2017: Michelin’s 20th Le Mans consecutive victory in numbers

Michelin won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 20th straight year and for the third year in a row in association with Porsche after posting the fastest ever lap of the French circuit with Toyota. 

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ for the Dutch GP

Assen is the only circuit to have been visited by the MotoGPTM World Championship every season since 1949. The Motul TT Assen is round eight of the 2017 calendar. 

24H du Mans

Porsche LMP Team hands Michelin its 20th straight Le Mans win!

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours saw Michelin extend its uninterrupted winning record in La Sarthe to 20 outright victories since 1998. It was assisted in its quest by the dogged determination of the N°2 Porsche crew (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) who fought back from an early technical issue to scoop the coveted trophy with an hour to go. Along with the N°8 Toyota, which finished back in ninth spot, the German machine was one of only two LMP1-H prototypes to reach the flag after disaster struck the class’s other three factory entries. Michelin’s successful weekend was compounded by a one-two-three finish in LM GTE Am in association with Ferrari, plus a double podium in LM GTE Pro.

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