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 Team hits the test track

As a key part of its preparations towards the second half of the 2014 FIA WEC campaign, Porsche Team conducted two testing sessions over the summer. Last week, the Michelin-shod Porsche 919 Hybrid was at Germany’s Lausitzring.

After Brendon Hartley, Marc Lieb and Timo Bernhard lapped at Paul-Ricard in France in July, Porsche’s other factory LMP1 trio – Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mark Webber – followed suit at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany. Over the course of the two test sessions, the Michelin-tyred Porsche 919 Hybrid covered 2,167km and 2,031km respectively.

The objective was to work upon and improve the performance of the LMP1 class prototype ahead of the second half of the season, which will take in a series of six-hour events at more ‘conventional’ circuits than that which staged the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours in June. The drivers and engineers therefore concentrated their efforts on different areas of the prototype, with a particular focus upon an aerodynamic package offering more grip.

Further testing is planned for the beginning of September, before the championship resumes in Austin, Texas, on September 20.



Porsche on top in the Manufacturers’ standings

Notwithstanding a couple of difficult races for Porsche North America at Road America and in Virginia, Porsche remains at the top of the Manufacturers’ championship table ahead of the next round in Texas.

There was a sense of entering the unknown when Porsche North America pitched up in Wisconsin for the eighth round of the season, following the new Adjustment of Performance (AoP) decreed by the governing body IMSA. The Michelin-shod factory Porsche 911 RSRs arrived sporting an entirely new and untested aero package, composed of a wider front splitter, a new rear wing and a wider air intake. This meant that the free practice sessions were even more important than usual, as the team strove to establish a competitive set-up for its two cars using the tyres brought along by Michelin.

At Road America, the N°912 Porsche shared by Patrick Long and Michael Christensen took the chequered flag in fifth position after recovering from a spin at the beginning of the race. The N°911 sister car crewed by Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz topped the leaderboard midway through the race, before picking up a 20-second penalty for a pit-lane collision, restricting the duo to a tenth-place finish.

A fortnight later, the ninth outing of the 2014 TUSCC campaign took place around the Oak Tree Grand Prix circuit in Virginia, solely for the GT classes. The privately-run Falken Tire Porsche driven by Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers clinched the runner-up spoils, whilst the two 911 RSRs entered by Porsche North America unfortunately found themselves in the wars. After suffering an accident during practice with Lietz at the wheel – leaving the Austrian with a broken leg – the N°911 Porsche needed to be completely rebuilt ahead of the race. It took the start from the rear of the grid and ultimately wound up tenth following engine issues.

To make up for Lietz’s absence, Christensen found himself driving both of the factory Porsche entries. He started the race in the N°912, before crossing the finish line in the N°911. The N°912 – which the Dane shared with team-mate Long – concluded proceedings in eighth place following a collision that damaged the car’s right-rear suspension.



Bamber seizes the initiative

New Zealand’s Earl Bamber won the seventh outing of the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at Spa-Francorchamps to move into the championship lead with just two rounds of the season remaining.

Following a busy July, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup took a breather at the beginning of August before roaring back into life around legendary the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Ahead of his 50th race behind the wheel of a Michelin-shod Porsche, Earl Bamber secured his maiden Supercup pole position.

The next day, the New Zealander made a textbook getaway when the starting lights went out, but Danish rival Nicki Thiim found the tiniest of openings at Raidillon to steal the lead. An intense duel ensued between the two men, before Bamber reclaimed the advantage on Lap 6, thereafter sprinting away to a 10.2-second victory over Thiim to score his second triumph of the campaign. Klaus Bachler, who had prevailed for the first time in the Supercup at Spa in 2013, rounded out the podium.

The championship leader going into the summer break, Polish ace Kuba Giermaziak ceded significant ground at Spa and consequently slipped behind Bamber, who now sits atop the drivers’ table ahead of the next round at Monza in Italy at the beginning of September. The 24-year-old is similarly paced in the Carrera Cup Deutschland and Carrera Cup Asia at the season’s midpoint and could clinch the Supercup ‘rookie’ crown as soon as Monza.

Since the creation of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 1993, 19 races have taken place at Spa-Francorchamps. In 2000, when a different tyre manufacturer was the championship’s exclusive supplier, the Belgian outing had to be cancelled due to safety concerns over the tyres around the ‘Ardennes Rollercoaster’.



Heading onto the home straight

The 2014 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland is entering its home straight. Two rounds took place in August, at Spielberg and the Nürburgring, with Christian Engelhart setting the pace in the chase for the coveted crown.

At Austria’s Red Bull Ring, the outcome of Race 1 left spectators somewhat perplexed as the driver who crossed the finishing line first, Philipp Eng, did not subsequently appear on the podium. The reason was that the home hero had appealed against a stewards’ decision and was thus not able to celebrate his victory, which was instead provisionally awarded to Nicki Thiim, with Earl Bamber second and ‘Junior’ driver Sven Müller third. New Zealand ace Bamber gained his revenge in Race 2 the following day, triumphing ahead of ‘Junior’ driver Alex Riberas.

A fortnight later, at the Nürburgring, the first race was immediately disrupted by a multi-car accident on the opening lap. From pole position, Michael Ammermüller ultimately prevailed ahead of Jaap Van Lagen and Pieter Schothorst. Having been disqualified on home turf in Austria, Eng bounced back by winning Race 2 at the Nürburgring, chased to the flag by team-mate Sven Müller and Jeffrey Schmidt. Konrad Motorsport’s Christian Engelhart is the new championship leader.



A new centre of development in Weissach

Porsche has officially opened a new centre of technological development complete with design studio and wind tunnel in Weissach, Germany, where the Porsche Team endurance racing squad is based.

Porsche invested €150 million in this new centre of development, structured around three buildings – a design studio dedicated to concept cars, an aero-acoustic wind tunnel and a centre of electronic integration.

The Weissach facility has been used by Porsche to develop its racing models since 1971, with the adjacent test track having been in operation since 1962. In total, more than 6,000 people work there.



A Porsche at Rallye Deutschland

For the first time in 28 years, a Porsche has reached the finish of a world championship rally! British Porsche specialist Richard Tuthill piloted his Michelin-tyred 997 GT3 to 27th place overall at ADAC Rallye Deutschland, the ninth outing of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

Within the WRC framework, the FIA, sport’s governing body, created the RGT class for GT cars. The regulations allow tuners to homologate the cars themselves, without needing to directly involve the manufacturer. At Rallye Monte-Carlo earlier this year, Belgium’s Marc Duez entered a Porsche 996, but was unfortunately forced to retire before the end.

British Porsche specialist Richard Tuthill had planned to participate in Rally Sweden in February behind the wheel of a Porsche 997, but was not able to complete the FIA’s homologation procedure in time. It was therefore on the asphalt roads of Rallye Deutschland that the Michelin-shod, 2012-spec 997 GT3 made its WRC debut at the end of August, to the evident delight of rally fans. “This Porsche is fitted with a 36mm air intake, which reduces its power from 450hp at 8,500rpm to around 300hp at 7,000rpm – but it is still fun to drive,” revealed Tuthill, partnered on the event by experienced co-driver Stéphane Prévot.

The timeless German car ultimately wound up 27th in the overall rankings, marking the first time since 1986 that a Porsche had been classified at the end of a world championship rally. Don’t forget that Porsche has triumphed outright on two WRC events since the championship’s inception back in 1973 – Rallye Monte-Carlo in 1978 and the Tour de Corse in 1980 – on each occasion in partnership with Michelin. Tuthill’s Porsche 997 GT3 is due to return to the fray at the dirt-based Wales Rally GB in November.

What’s more, Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas has begun preparing a Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 to contest world championship and European-level events. The car could make its official debut in the Frenchman’s hands at Rallye de France in early October.


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

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