Audi Sport Team Joest saw a one-two triumph at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, with the sister teams of FÄSSLER / LOTTERER / TRÉLUYER (1st) running with the N°2 R18 e-tron Quattro and GRASSI / KRISTENSEN / GENE on their N°1 R18 e-tron Quattro outfitted with a new type of MICHELIN tires. The two German cars were joined on the podium by the N°8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of DAVIDSON / LAPIERRE / BUEMI.
For the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), MICHELIN Motorsport has developed new tires which are both narrower by five centimeters and two kilograms lighter. In spite of the harsher constraints to which they are exposed as a result of the latest technical regulations, their safety performance, longevity and competitiveness lived up to the expectations of the French firm’s partners.
The drivers were regularly able to complete three and even four stints on the same set, something which was far from a foregone conclusion prior to the start given that the latest-generation P1 prototypes are even faster than last season’s cars and consequently place higher demands on their tires.
Pascal COUASNON, MICHELIN Motorsport’s Director, is pleased with the results secured by his company’s tires in the French race this year: “First of all, I would like to thank all our partners. We are very proud to have had such a successful weekend, and that was made possible by the unique expertise of MICHELIN Motorsport’s engineers when it comes to making tires capable of rising to the multiple challenges this race throws at them. They faced a tough task but rose to it with success.”
These tires contain trade secrets covering certain technologies that Michelin could well carry over to its high-end road tires in the future, bringing the latest innovations of the MICHELIN Total Performance (MTOP) to everyone. The three pillars of safety, longevity and performance efficiency are the standards for MTOP.
Success in the LM GTE classes and strong performances in LM P2
The three other classes in which the cars competed at Le Mans this year also featured tyre ranges that Michelin has renewed this season. In LM P2, MICHELIN’s new ‘medium low-temperature’ tyre was first used by the brand’s partner teams at the pre race Test Day on June 1and proved sufficiently resilient to cover three stints.
The LM GTE Pro class was won by the N°51 Ferrari 458 Italia of BRUNI / VILANDER / FISICHELLA, while the LM GTE AM category was claimed by the N°95 Aston Martin Vantage V8, an eloquent illustration of the French tires’ versatility from start to finish, day and night.
The MICHELIN Total Performance Award, introduced to reward contributions to sustainable mobility in the form of a €1 million prize fund and based on a certain number of conditions (victory, fastest race lap, distance record, limited tyre consumption and total energy consumption reduced by 15 percent) was not won this year but will be carried over to next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. For this year’s race, Michelin’s partners benefited from the availability of 7,000 tires and a staff of more than 100 specialists to service their needs and work alongside them. The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take teams to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, USA, on September 20, 2014.