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).


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.


Toyota/Michelin claims Spa 1-2

Toyota Gazoo Racing came first and second at the 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with its N°8 (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) and N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi) Michelin-equipped TS050 Hybrids. There was one-two glory, too, for Ferrari/Michelin with its N°71 and N°51 488 GTEs in LM GTE Pro.

The N°8 and N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrids couldn’t have wished for a better rehearsal for June’s Le Mans 24 Hours than their victory today over the Michelin-shod N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Lotterer/Jani/Tandy) Porsche 919 Hybrids at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.

Running with high-downforce aero packages, the Japanese prototypes dominated round two of the 2017 FIA WEC which took place in relatively mild weather in front of 61,000 spectators. The N°8 car pulled clear of its N°7 sister machine when the latter chose to refuel just before a Full Course Yellow period (FCY) during the fourth hour.

With 1½ hours to go, Brendon Hartley put the N°2 Porsche in front thanks to the team’s management of the FCY period. Its chances were scuppered, however, when it collided with the N°36 Alpine which was being driven at the time by ex-Porsche star Romain Dumas!

The N°8 Toyota recovered top spot with Sébastien Buemi, despite a light shower and a spirited fightback by Kamui Kobayashi in the N°7 car. The two prototypes were split by less than two seconds as they passed the flag after 1,211km of racing.

Toyota Gazoo Racing was running a third car for the very first time and Lapierre/Sarrazin/Kunimoto (N°9) ended up fifth, behind the pole-winning N°1 Porsche, after a ‘straight-on’ at the very first turn.

Before today’s result, Toyota/Michelin’s most recent one-two FIA WEC finish dated back to Shanghai in 2014.

The LM GTE Pro class produced a thrilling scrap between the Michelin-equipped N°71 (Bird/Rigon) and N°51 (Calado/Pier Guidi) Ferrari 488 GTEs which secured first and second places after pulling clear of the N°66 and N°67 Ford GTs early on. Neither the Porsche 911 RSRs nor the Aston Martin Vantages were involved in the battle for first place.

The LMP2 fight was won by the N°26 G-Drive Racing prototype (Rusinov/Thiriet/Lynn) after a splendid fight with the N°31 Vaillante-Rebellion (Canal/Prost/Senna) which lost ground near the end. Third place went to the Silverstone-winning N°38 Oreca-Gibson.

The LM GTE Am spoils went to the N°98 Aston Martin of Lamy/Lauda/Dalla Lana who dominated throughout to beat the N°77 Porsche (2nd) and N°61 Ferrari (3rd).

The next public appearance for the FIA WEC teams will be early June’s official test for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.


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: 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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