IMSA: The Michelin Pilot Sport’s longevity pays at Daytona

The long-lasting performance credentials of the Michelin Pilot Sport helped the French firm to make a decisive mark at the opening round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Notorious as a gruelling test of speed and resilience, last weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona on Florida’s east coast was won by the Acura ARX-05 of Taylor/Albuquerque/Rossi/Castroneves who got Michelin’s 2021 endurance racing campaign off to the perfect start. Michelin has been a major partner of the North American series since 2019 and is this year working with no fewer than 18 carmakers.


Michelin and its partnership with North American endurance racing

Starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona 24 Hour race and in a multi-year agreement, Michelin will be the Official Tire of IMSA. The partnership includes not only the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but also two other major IMSA-sanctioned series, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge. What benefits does this association bring Michelin?





First of all, it is important to recall that Michelin has been actively involved in North American endurance racing since 1999 when it became one of the first partners of the newly-created American Le Mans Series in which it notched up 143 race wins.


More recently, Michelin provided tires to competitors in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM class from 2014 until 2018.

Now, Michelin has significantly stepped up its association with IMSA which is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary. The new partnership sees Michelin’s involvement expand to cover all the classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and the IMSA Prototype Challenge.  The Rolex 24 at Daytona is also the first round of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which is comprised of the season’s four premier endurance events: the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of Watkins Glen and the season-ending 10 Hours of Petit Le Mans.

“The stakes of this multi-year partnership are threefold,” says Michelin Motorsport Director Matthieu Bonardel. “It is important not only strategically, but also economically and technologically.”

The technological stakes. Endurance racing has been embedded in Michelin’s DNA since it won the first ever Le Mans 24 Hours back in 1923. Ever since, the brand has innovated in association with its automobile manufacturer partners to develop increasingly competitive, longer lasting and safer racing tires. Often, this progress is subsequently carried over to Michelin road tires.

“Our commitment to IMSA fits perfectly with our policy of winning with Michelin drivers on the race track so that we can ultimately satisfy our everyday customers even more effectively,” observes Matthieu Bonardel.

Extremely bumpy circuits like Sebring, in Florida, USA, make huge demands of tire casings, for example, while 24-hour races like Daytona, also in Florida, call for exceptional versatility and durability, combined with maximum safety. “Our IMSA programme will enable Michelin to maintain its technological edge because we will need to provide tires for cars that have very different characteristics and which are run by top teams at extremely varied venues,” adds Matthieu Bonardel. “At the end of the day, rising to challenges of this nature and having to develop solutions to address them helps us to improve our road tires.”

The economical stakes. “Providing tires to 19 different automotive brands for something like 100 cars as different as LMP2 and DPi prototypes, and GTLM and GTD touring cars at 12 races is a huge challenge in production and logistics terms,” underlines Chris Baker, the Director of Michelin Motorsport North America. Like all its endurance racing tires, Michelin’s IMSA tires are developed and made in Clermont-Ferrand, France, by technicians who boast a wealth of expertise in the production of these hand-crafted products. The numbers involved for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona amount to around 12,750 tires and Michelin’s commitment to IMSA will enable it to consolidate and broaden its retail motorsport tire activities outside of Europe where it has already carved out a significant part of the market.

To meet this twofold challenge, Michelin has had to revise its production planning and engage bespoke human resources not only in Clermont-Ferrand, but also in Greenville, South Carolina, USA, where the 50 motorsport tire specialists delegated to work and liaise with the brand’s different partner teams throughout the season are based. In total, some 100 Michelin engineers, technicians and fitters will attend the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first clash of the 2019 campaign.

The strategic stakes. Along with NASCAR and IndyCar, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is one of North America’s three major motorsport series, and the continent’s only endurance racing championship. “Endurance racing requires tires that are competitive and deliver high performance consistently all the way to the finish line. It is also a discipline with which Michelin shares the same values,” says Scott Clark, the President of Michelin North America.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a vibrant series that enjoys considerable media coverage and a big social media following, boosted by the involvement of household driver names like Fernando Alonso and Juan-Pablo Montoya. Meanwhile, fixtures like the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring attract tens of thousands of passionate and connoisseur fans who are also existing or future buyers of Michelin tires.

Michelin’s partnership with IMSA dovetails perfectly with its efforts to strengthen the brand’s presence and visibility in North America’s premium tire market through endurance racing. Michelin has also lent its name to Road Atlanta – home of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s final round – which officially became Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta at the beginning of 2019.

At the same time, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship provides Michelin with a first class opportunity to work closely with brands such as 2018 champions Chevrolet, Cadillac and Ford, as well as Acura, Porsche, Audi, Lexus, Mercedes, BMW and Ferrari - amongst others - on their motorsport programmes in North America which is a key market for the French company.

Last but by no means least, Michelin’s involvement with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is an extension of its commitment to endurance racing around the world, from the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship, to the European and Asian Le Mans Series.



Michelin and endurance racing in numbers:

24 Hours of Le Mans: 27 victories, including an uninterrupted run of 21 straight wins since 1998

FIA World Endurance Championship: 55 victories and 12 world titles

American Le Mans Series: 143 victories and 28 titles

European Le Mans Series: 42 victories and 18 titles

Asian Le Mans Series: 25 victories

24 Hours of Nürburgring: 18 victories

24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps: 12 victories


The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar 

January 26-27: Rolex 24 at Daytona (Daytona Beach, Florida) (24 hours) – all classes

March 10: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring (Sebring, Florida) (12 hours) – all classes

April 13: BUBBA Burger Sports-Car Grand Prix at Long Beach (California) (1h 40m) – DPi, LMP2 + GTLM

May 5: Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio (Lexington, Ohio) (2h 40m) – all classes

June 1: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (Detroit, Michigan) (1h 40m) DPi, LMP2 + GTD

June 30: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (Watkins Glen, New York) (6 hours) – all classes

July 7: Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (Bowmanville, Ontario) (2h 40m) – all classes

July 20: Northeast Grand Prix (Lakeville, Connecticut) (2h 40m) – GTLM + GTD

August 4: Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin) (2h 40m) – all classes

August 25: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR (Alton, Virginia) (2h 40m) – GTLM + GTD

September 15: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California) (2h 40m) – all classes

October 12: Motul Petit Le Mans (Braselton, Georgia) (10 hours) – all classes


Michelin’s partners in the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship



N°5    Mustang Sampling Racing          Cadillac DPi-V.R

N°6    Acura Team Penske                   Acura ARX-05

N°7    Acura Team Penske                   Acura ARX-05

N°10   Wayne Taylor Racing                  Cadillac DPi-V.R

N°31   Whelen Engineering Racing        Cadillac DPi-V.R

N°50   Juncos Racing                            Cadillac DPi-V.R

N°54   CORE Autosport                         Nissan Onroak DPi

N°55   Mazda Team Joest                     Mazda RT24-P

N°77   Mazda Team Joest                     Mazda RT24-P

N°84   JDC Miller Motorsports               Cadillac DPi-V.R

N°85   JDC Miller Motorsports               Cadillac DPi-V.R



N°18   Performance Tech Motorsports   Oreca-07

N°38   DragonSpeed                             Oreca-07

N°52   PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports        Oreca-07

N°81   DragonSpeed                             Oreca-07



N°3    Corvette Racing                          Chevrolet-Corvette C7.R

N°4    Corvette Racing                          Chevrolet-Corvette C7.R

N°24   BMW Team RLL                         BMW M8 GTE

N°25   BMW Team RLL                         BMW M8 GTE

N°62   Risi Competizione                       Ferrari 488 GTE

N°65   Ford Chip Ganassi Racing          Ford GT

N°66   Ford Chip Ganassi Racing          Ford GT

N°911 Porsche  GT Team                     Porsche 911 RSR

N°912 Porsche GT Team                      Porsche 911 RSR



N°8    Starworks Motorsport                 Audi R8 LMS Evo

N°9     PFaFF Motorsports                    Porsche 911 GT3 R

N°11   GRT Grasser Racing Team         Lamborghini Huracan GT3

N°12   AIM Vasser Sullivan                    Lexus RC F GT3

N°13   Via Italia Racing                         Ferrari 488 GT3

N°14   AIM Vasser Sullivan                    Lexus RC F GT3

N°19   MooreSpeed                              Audi R8 LMS

N°29   Montaplast avec Land Motorsport         Audi R8 LMS Evo

N°33   Riley Motorsports-Team AMG     Mercedes-AMG GT3

N°44   Magnus Racing                          Lamborghini Huracan GT3

N°46   EBIMOTORS SRL                      Lamborghini Huracan GT3

N°47   Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3

N°48   Paul Miller Racing                       Lamborghini Huracan GT3

N°51   Spirit of Race                             Ferrari 488 GT3

N°57   Meyer Shank Racing                  Acura NSX GT3

N°63   Scuderia Corsa                          Ferrari 488 GT3

N°71   P1 Motorsports                          Mercedes-AMG GT3

N°73   Park Place Motorsports              Porsche 911 GT3 R

N°86   Meyer Shank Racing                  Acura NSX GT3

N°88   WRT Speedstar Audi Sport         Audi R8 LMS Evo

N°96   Turner Motorsport                      BMW M6 GT3

N°99   NGT Motorsport                         Porsche 911 GT3 R

N°540 Black Swan Racing                     Porsche 911 GT3 R



Michelin tires for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship


LM P2 and DPi

Two compounds nominated for the season, but just one compound available at each race


Three compounds nominated for the season (soft, medium, hard), with a choice of two compounds available at each race


Two compounds nominated for the season, but just one compound available at each race

Wet weather tires

All classes: P2L

Download the Press Release of the Rolex 24 Hours

Download the event card of the Rolex 24 Hours


MotoGP™: Márquez takes assertive Austin win

Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) was in unbeatable form at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas – Round 15 of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship – at the notoriously bumpy Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The Spaniard was followed over the line by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) who made it three different bikemakers on the podium in another display of the MICHELIN Power tire range’s exceptional versatility.  


MotoGP™: Bagnaia wins on home soil as Michelin helps more records tumble

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) scored his second victory in as many weekends by winning the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Round 14 of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship. The Italian was joined on the podium by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), while the MICHELIN Power Slick range contributed to new track-lap, race-lap and shortest race-duration records for Misano. 


MotoGP™: Maiden MotoGPTM win for Bagnaia and Michelin’s 460th!

The Gran Premio TISSOT de Aragón (Round 13 of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship) saw Lenovo Ducati Team’s Francesco Bagnaia collect the first win of his career at this level. Second and third at Aragon were Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and defending champ Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), while four different Michelin-equipped bikemakers filled the top four places as more records tumbled at the exacting Spanish circuit. 


MotoGP™: Quartararo uncatchable at Silverstone

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) dominated Round 12 of the 2021 MotoGPTM World Championship at Silverstone, Great Britain, to notch up his fifth victory of the campaign. He led comfortably for most of the Monster Energy British Grand Prix to beat Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) harvested Aprilia’s maiden MotoGPTM podium finish. The top six places featured six different bikemakers – a first in MotoGPTM history and further evidence of the MICHELIN Power range’s outstanding versatility.  

More about Michelin Motorsport

Facts and Figures

Michelin Le Mans Cup