24H du Mans

Le Mans 2020 put back 98 days

Initially scheduled for the weekend of June 13-14, this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours has been postponed until mid-September due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 1968 race was also held in September and saw Michelin provide new radial tyres for its partner Alpine.

24H du Mans

Sixty-two entries for last Le Mans to star hybrid LMP1 prototypes

Le Mans organiser ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has listed the 62 entries that have been invited to take part in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours on June 13-14. More than 50 cars will contest the race on Michelin rubber. The French firm is targeting its 23rd straight win in La Sarthe and its 29th in total. Hybrid LMP1 prototypes will appear for the last time.

24H du Mans

A second straight 1-2 finish for Toyota/Michelin at Le Mans

Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed a second one-two finish at Le Mans to earn a 22nd consecutive win for its partner Michelin in the famous French endurance race. Victory ended up in the hands of the N°8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, ahead of the N°7 sister car, while winning drivers Buemi, Nakajima and Alonso wrapped up the 2018/2019 FIA WEC title. The top-three was rounded out by the N°11 BR1/Michelin. Michelin topped the order in LMP2, too, with Alpine (Lapierre/Negrao/Thiriet), as well as in LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am with Ferrari (Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra) and Ford (Keating/Bleekemolen/Fraga) respectively. The 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours provided Michelin with the ideal opportunity to showcase the long-lasting performance credentials of its Pilot Sport Endurance tyres.

Although Toyota appeared not to face any significant opposition this year, everyone knows that nothing can ever be taken for granted at Le Mans which hasn’t earned its reputation for being the world’s most punishing endurance race by accident!

The Japanese squad shrugged off any pressure there might have been, however, to post a near-perfect performance and finish with both of its TS050-Hybrids six laps clear of their closest threat, which ended up being the third-placed N°11 SMP Racing non-hybrid prototype.

The pole-winning N°7 car topped the leaderboard for the majority of the 24 hours, aided by a multi-stint strategy which saw Lopez complete 46 laps on the same set of Michelins Pilot Sport Endurance.

But the slightly faster pace of Conway, Kobayashi and the Argentine driver went unrewarded when the latter was forced to make an unscheduled stop to replace a tyre damaged by debris with less than an hour remaining. The move handed the win to the N°8 sister car of Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima who took the trophy for the second year running. The Toyota trio also harvested Michelin’s 22nd consecutive victory at Le Mans, and its 28th at Le Mans since the inaugural race in 1923!

The race provided plenty of evidence to support Michelin’s ‘long-lasting performance’ claim, including runs of more than 600km by Mike Conway and Fernando Alonso on the same set of Michelin tyres. The two-time F1 world champion even posted his second-fastest lap of the race (3m19.88s) on tyres that had already clocked up 558 kilometres!

Three decades after its win with Alpine-Renault in 1978, Michelin’s successful weekend continued with a satisfying victory in LMP2 thanks to the N°36 Alpine which switched back to its tyres for the last three rounds of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship, a move that paid dividends not only this weekend at Le Mans but also in the WEC standings since the French outfit’s result has earned it this season’s LMP2 world title. The Signatech-run car was locked in a fierce fight with the N°26 G-Drive prototype for much of the early part of the race, but the latter fell back with a technical issue which allowed Lapierre/Negrao/Thiriet to push on to the class win by a margin of one lap.

As usual, the LM GTE Po class produced a thrilling scrap which, true to tradition, went down to the wire. With the exception of BMW/Michelin, all of the carmakers involved in the category (Aston Martin/Michelin, Corvette/Michelin, Porsche/Michelin, Ferrari/Michelin and Ford/Michelin) appeared in front at one moment or another, but the N°51 Ferrari of Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra survived late pushes by the N°91 (+49s) and N°93 (+1m7s) Porsches to clinch the victory, the Italian make’s first at Le Mans since 2014.

Porsche was also forced to settle for second place in LM GTE Am which was won by the N°85 Ford/Michelin of Keating/Bleekemolen/Fraga. The Keating Motorsports-tended car appeared in front on Saturday evening and doggedly defended its advantage to the flag, despite serving a late ‘Stop&Go’ penalty which allowed the N°56 Porsche/Michelin (2nd, +45s) to close the gap significantly in the dying stages. Third in the class was the N°84 Ferrari/Michelin (+1m29s).

MOTOGP™

Michelin on the virtual racing front

The coronavirus pandemic has obviously brought real motorsport to a halt, but many of Michelin’s driver partners have been keeping their eye in thanks to virtual races like Sebring SuperSaturday, e-Sport MotoGP and Porsche Supercup Virtual Edition.

FIA WRC

Rally Mexico Win #6 for Ogier

Sébastien Ogier steered his Michelin LTX Force-equipped Toyota Yaris WRC to victory this weekend to earn his sixth success in Mexico. However, Round 3 of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship was brought to an early close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

FIA WRC

FIA WRC - 2020 Rally Guanajuato Mexico - Racecard

The Rally Mexico is the season’s opening gravel round and a big challenge for the Michelin tyres! Get our racecard to find out more about the 3rd round of the 2020

FIA Formula E

Da Costa (DS Techeetah/Michelin) takes Marrakech laurels

Antonio Felix Da Costa steered his Michelin Pilot Sport-equipped DS E-Tense FE20 to victory in Marrakesh, home of Round 5 of the 2019/2020 ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Morocco, Africa’s number one nation in terms of renewable energy, has hosted Formula E action every year since 2016.

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