Grand-slam glory for Michelin in Texas

The Lone Star Le Mans (Round 5 of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship) at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, was won by the Michelin Pilot Sport Endurance-equipped Rebellion R13 of Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato. Michelin cars also topped the order in LMP2 (N°22 Oreca07-Gibson), LMGTE Pro (N°95 Aston Martin) and LMGTE Am (N°90 Aston Martin).


Toyota/Michelin claim 1st and 2nd places in Bahrain

Toyota Gazoo Racing dominated the last FIA WEC race of the year to collect first and second places in Bahrain with the N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) and N°8 (Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley) Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids. The French tyre firm topped the order in the other three classes, too, with the N°22 United Autosports Oreca-Gibson (LMP2), N°95 Aston Martin (LMGTE Pro) and N°57 Porsche (LMGTE Am).




Porsche and Michelin on the podium at Silverstone

The LMP1-H class Porsche 919 Hybrid prototype impressed with third-place on its eagerly-anticipated debut at the 6 Hours of Silverstone. In the LMGTE Pro category, Porsche and Michelin ruled the roost with a one-two finish for the 911 RSR.

On April 20, the 6 Hours of Silverstone revved the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) well-and-truly into life. Following 12 months of intensive testing and development, and equipped with Michelin’s new endurance racing tyres, the Porsche 919 Hybrid took to the starting grid for its very first race at the celebrated ‘Home of British Motor Racing’, Silverstone – almost 30 years after the last victory for a Porsche prototype at the British circuit back in 1985.

After dominating the final free practice session on Saturday morning, the N°14 and N°20 Porsche 919 Hybrid prototypes – crewed respectively by Romain Dumas / Neel Jani / Marc Lieb and Timo Bernhard / Mark Webber / Brendon Hartley – qualified third and sixth, with the sextet of LMP1-H contenders all blanketed by less than half-a-second.

The lights went out to signal the start of the 6 Hours of Silverstone at midday on April 20, with competitors faced with a damp track. Swiss ace Jani and Germany’s Bernhard were the men behind the wheel of the two Porsche prototypes as the brand marked its official return to endurance racing. The heavens opened half-an-hour into the race, prompting the Porsche Team engineers to bring forward the first scheduled pit-stops for the N°14 and N°20 cars to switch them over to Michelin’s intermediate rubber. It was a strategy that paid off for the N°20 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which went on to take the chequered flag in third position, but the N°14 sister car was not so fortunate as it lost a wheel. Jani managed to make it back to the pits, where the suspension was repaired in just 16 minutes, but the car was forced into retirement not long after with transmission woes.

In the LMGTE Pro category, the N°91 (Patrick Pilet / JörgBergmeister / Nick Tandy) and N°92 (Frédéric Makowiecki / Marco Holzer / Richard Lietz) Michelin-shod Porsche 911 RSRs swiftly got the better of the N°51 Ferrari as they sped towards a one-two finish. The N°91 crew led for no fewer than 106 of the 147 laps and looked to be on-course for the top step of the podium. However, an ill-timed pit-stop just before the appearance of the safety car and the premature race stoppage half-an-hour from the end due to a torrential downpour handed victory to the sister N°92 Porsche 911 RSR. In LMGTE Am, the N°88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Christian Ried, Klaus Bachler and Khaled Al-Qubaisi narrowly missed out on a rostrum finish.


Porsche and Michelin on pole position at Spa

A fortnight after Silverstone, the FIA WEC returned to the track at legendary Belgian circuit Spa-Francorchamps, where the N°14 Porsche 919 Hybrid claimed pole position. Unfortunately, the race was not quite as successful for Porsche Team.

Behind the wheel of the N°14 Porsche, Swiss ace Neel Jani and German team-mate Marc Lieb snatched the top spot on the starting grid for this year’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps right at the end of the qualifying session – meaning that having secured its maiden podium finish on its competitive debut at Silverstone, Porsche Team’s second outing saw it similarly snare its first pole position.

From there, the Michelin-tyred N°14 Porsche 919 Hybrid – crewed by Jani, Lieb and Romain Dumas – led the way during the early stages of the race, only for an electrical issue to send it tumbling down the order, while an unscheduled late pit-stop cost it a podium finish. After qualifying fifth, the N°20 Porsche shared by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley endured a difficult weekend marred by various technical gremlins.

The Belgian outing proved no easier for the two LMGTE Pro class Michelin-supplied Porsche 911 RSRs entered by Porsche Team Manthey. At the instruction of the Endurance Committee, the German cars were weighed down with 25kg of ballast before the start and went on to finish second (N°91) and sixth (N°92).

During his final stint, Patrick Pilet in the N°91 car overtook two rivals to steal the runner-up spoils behind the N°51 Ferrari, whilst the N°92 ran into power steering problems towards the end of the race. At LMGTE Am level, Proton Competition’s Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Christian Ried, Klaus Bachler and Khaled Al-Qubaisi narrowly missed out on the podium.



Californian appointment for Porsche and Michelin

Following back-to-back triumphs at Daytona and Sebring, the brace of Porsche 911 RSRs entered by Porsche North America both finished inside the top five in the Long Beach Grand Prix and inside the top ten at Laguna Seca in California.

The N°911 and N°912 Porsche 911 RSRs came out-of-the-blocks flying at the beginning of the campaign with victories in the two longest American outings of the season – the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours.

The third round, by contrast, was a mere 100-minute sprint through the streets of Long Beach on the continent’s Pacific coast. Just one refuelling stop was the order of the day for the Porsche North America squad.

The N°911 (Richard Lietz / Nick Tandy) and N°912 (Patrick Long / Michael Christensen) took the chequered flag respectively fourth and fifth, tallying precious points in the championship standings. The N°17 Falken Tires Porsche 911 RSR wound up eighth in its class.


Porsche penalised at Laguna Seca

The Michelin-tyred Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz finished third in the GTLM class, prior to receiving a hefty penalty for contact during the race, relegating the duo to ninth.

The legendary Californian circuit Laguna Seca and its iconic ‘Corkscrew’ did not smile upon the two Porsche 911 RSRs fielded by Porsche North America. Just three corners into the race, Michael Christensen in the N°912 entry found himself forced into a spin as he endeavoured to avoid a collision. The car went on to collect eighth place at the chequered flag.

Meanwhile, the sister N°911 Porsche initially finished on the podium before stewards handed down a penalty equivalent to a pit-stop plus 60 seconds, relegating Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz to ninth in the final classification.



Bamber and Imperatori on top in Shanghai

New Zealand’s Earl Bamber won the second round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia held as a support race to the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, whilst Alexandre Imperatori triumphed in the third outing of 2014.

Barely back from Europe where he had been participating in the official Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup pre-season tests at Barcelona and Hockenheim, Earl Bamber took to the grid for round two of the 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in Shanghai.

Race 1 took place in the rain and, having started on pole position in his Michelin-shod LKM Racing Porsche, Bamber gradually edged away from his pursuers to take the chequered flag more than six seconds clear of closest rival Martin Ragginger, who improved three places from his grid slot. Alexandre Imperatori secured third, ahead of China’s Ho-Pin Tung.

On a dry track the following day, Hong Kong-based Imperatori (PICC Team StarChase) prevailed by 3.666 seconds ahead of Austrian ace Ragginger. Bamber claimed the final spot on the podium and set a new lap record.

Rounds four and five will take place at the beginning of May in Zhuhai.



Dr McDreamy at Hockenheim

Already a Porsche driver in the TUSCC and Le Mans 24 Hours, American actor Patrick Dempsey has been invited to compete in the second round of the 2014 Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup at Hockenheim. The season will kick off in early May at Barcelona.

On July 20, the star of US medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy will take to the wheel of a 460hp, Michelin-shod Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car provided by Porsche AG VIP. Patrick Dempsey was able to get to grips with Hockenheim’s layout at the beginning of April during the Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup official pre-season tests.

Dempsey raced in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Porsche 997 GT3 RSR, and will return to the legendary La Sarthe circuit in a Porsche this summer. What’s more, his team – Dempsey Racing – is this year running a Porsche 911 America in the US-based Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

“I’m used to endurance races where I have team-mates,” he said. “This is the first time that I will take part in a sprint race in such a fiercely-competitive single-make series. I’m hoping the experience will be very beneficial.”

Last year, Porsche AG invited Sébastien Loeb and Emanuele Pirro to contest a round of the Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup.




Kicking off at Le Mans

The 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup France campaign got underway at Le Mans’ Bugatti Circuit, where Côme Ledogar and Nicolas Armindo reigned in the rain.

The unpredictable weather conditions over La Sarthe made for a demanding debut for the new Porsche GT3 Cup cars in France in the 2014 curtain-raiser. The start of Race 1 was delayed slightly after the heavens opened whilst the drivers were on their formation lap. From the second row of the grid, Team Martinet by Almeras entrant Côme Ledogar triumphed ahead of Steven Palette and Gaël Castelli.

The weather remained gloomy for Race 2, in which Imsa-Performance Matmut ace Nicolas Armindo’s gamble to start on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup N2 slick tyres proved to be an inspired move as he prevailed ahead of Vincent Beltoise and Jimmy Antunes.



Zaid Ashkanani crowned

Nineteen-year-old Kuwaiti driver Zaid Ashkanani has made history in becoming the youngest-ever champion in the GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, organised in partnership with Michelin since 2009.

The 2014 season finale took place in Bahrain. Following a mistake by defending champion Clemens Schmid in Dubai, teenage prodigy Zaid Ashkanani headed into the last two rounds of the campaign as championship leader – with a tense duel in prospect.

Schmid drew first blood by annexing pole position in qualifying, with his arch-rival managing no better than the third-fastest time. Ashkanani, however, swiftly turned the tables in the opening race by taking the chequered flag 3.115 seconds ahead to extend his advantage in the title chase to five points. That meant that in order to successfully retain his crown, Schmid needed to win the final race and hope that Ashkanani did not reach the podium.

The Salwa-based student managed the high-stakes situation to perfection, though, by crossing the finish line third in Race 2, thereby lifting the 2014 laurels by a single marker – a five-place improvement upon Ashkanani’s sixth position in the 2013 GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East standings. Italy’s Antonio Garcia emerged victorious in the Silver Michelin contest ahead of Hannes Waimer and rallying star Nasser Al-Attiyah. Al Nabooda Racing clinched the 2014 Teams’ title.




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.

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.


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 - 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

More about Michelin Motorsport

24H du Mans

Facts and Figures

Michelin Le Mans Cup