24H du Mans

Michelin targeting a 21st Le Mans victory

The ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has published the list of the 60 competitors it has invited to contest this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Michelin, which is unbeaten in the French endurance classic since 1998, is targeting a 21st consecutive victory this time around, and its 27th in total since the race was first organised in 1923.

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. 

24H du Mans

The life of a Michelin tyre down racing’s most famous straight

The Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans is one of the longest straights in motorsport. This 5.5km run actually uses a main road that leads out of the French city to Tours and has been split into three parts by two chicanes since 1990. Tyres are subjected to considerable lateral, longitudinal and vertical forces along this celebrated portion of asphalt.

The Mulsanne Straight is preceded by the Tertre Rouge turn which the LM P1 hybrid prototypes take at around 215kph. Michelin’s tyres have to cope with lateral forces of up to 3g here, which causes them to deform significantly.

At the celebrated French track (13.629km), the cars reach their highest speed between Tertre Rouge and the Michelin Chicane, with the fastest prototype runners peaking at about 330kph. At this sort of speed, an LM P1 tyre rotates more than 41 times every second!

Centrifugal force also causes the tyres to deform as the side walls are stretched outwards, increasing the tyres’ overall diameter by around two percent (1cm). At the same time, aerodynamic downforce presses the covers into the ground, making them more oval than perfectly round, a phenomenon that kicks in at around 250kph.

After 2.1km, drivers reach the Michelin Chicane which turns right, then left and right again. Under braking, tyres have to withstand deceleration forces of 3G as they slow from 320kph to 110kph in something like 400 metres. Yet this isn’t the spot where the cars brake the hardest during the FIA WEC campaign, especially as the drivers tend to lift from the accelerator pedal slightly earlier in order to recover energy and charge the batteries. At Silverstone, for example, the cars are subjected to braking forces in excess of 4G in places.

When entering the Michelin Chicane, the front left tyre is submitted to a lateral load of 6,000 Newtons (600kg), but this isn’t the most critical part of the circuit for this particular cover which soaks up a load of 1,200kg into Indianapolis. At Spa’s famous Raidillon, the same figure is closer to 1,400kg.

The punishment is practically identical into the chicane, while braking for the Mulsanne Turn – at the very end of the straight – sees the four tyres soak up a static vertical load of 1.5G (i.e. the car’s own weight plus 50%).

This year, Michelin is giving its LMP1 partners the opportunity to complete five stints on the same set of tyres during the race, which equates to some 65 poundings down the Mulsanne Straight!

FIA WRC

Thierry Neuville takes Portugal win

After his success in snowy Sweden in February, Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) was first past the post again at the end of the weekend’s Rally de Portugal. The Belgian, who has gone to the top of the provisional 2018 Drivers’ standings, was joined on the podium by Ford M-Sport/Michelin’s Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen.

MOTOGP™

MotoGP: Marc Márquez takes Le Mans spoils

The winner of Sunday’s HJC Helmets Grand Prix de France (Round 5 of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship) at Le Mans-Bugatti was Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team). Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) were second and third.

FIA Formula E

One-two glory for Audi/Michelin in Berlin

Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler marched to a one-two triumph on home soil thanks to Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi. Third place for Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) has taken the Frenchman even further clear at the top of the Drivers’ points table with only three more races to come.

FIA WRC

FIA WRC - Vodafone Rally de Portugal - Racecard (EN)

All you need to know about the Rally de Portugal with our racecard.Click on the photo to download it.

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