Published on March 15th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Michelin is Porsche’s technical partner for 2014
Michelin is Porsche’s technical partner for the German manufacturer’s 2014 endurance racing programme. Indeed, the Clermont-Ferrand-based company played a part in the development of the new Porsche 919 Hybrid by designing specially-adapted tyres for the LMP1 class prototype. In compliance with the 2014 sporting regulations for the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and Le Mans, the size of these tyres is 31/71-18, both at the front and the rear. Developed on a simulator for all of the firm’s LMP1 partners, the MICHELIN tyres on the Porsche 919 Hybrid were refined during testing sessions conducted jointly between the two firms’ technical teams, as is explained by Pascal COUASNON, Director of MICHELIN Motorsport:
Tyres play a key role both in terms of performance and in the management of the quantity of energy allocated to 2014 FIA WEC competitors by the regulations. The energy efficiency of the LMP1 prototypes depends, amongst other factors, upon two fundamental parameters: their weight and their aerodynamic drag, both of which are significantly influenced by tyres. Regarding performance, the tyres actively promote the car’s efficiency by working in synergy with the suspension. They need to be able to withstand the vehicle’s weight as well as its colossal aerodynamic loads, which can reach three times the mass of the car. Around certain circuits and on a dry track, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration generated by these prototypes can appreciably exceed 3G.
Remember, also, that MICHELIN’s 2014 tyres for LMP1 class prototypes are 15 per cent narrower than before (between 5cm and 6cm narrower). This represents an improvement both in terms of weight (a saving of 8kg per set of four) and aerodynamic drag. What’s more, these benefits are achieved without the need to sacrifice either the performance or durability of the tyre.
Outside of the LMP1 programme, Michelin is also partnering Porsche in the GTE Pro class, in which the Stuttgart firm is continuing to field a brace of Porsche 911 RSRs run by Team Manthey. Having already tasted victory champagne at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours – where Michelin’s tyres proved capable of covering three stints – the Franco-German alliance is this year targeting success in the FIA WEC, at Le Mans and in the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC).
From the racetrack to the street. The Porsche 918 Spyder, the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Porsche Macan: three new Porsches equipped with Michelin rubber
For Michelin, as for Porsche, motorsport only makes sense if it assists in the development of innovations that translate into progress for everyday life. The two companies’ sporting programmes consequently have as their raison d’être the design of high-end sports vehicles, at the cutting-edge of technology and fitted with bespoke Michelin tyres.
Michelin’s Research and Development department works in accordance with a precise strategy that is compatible with Porsche’s own philosophy – enhanced performance in every tyre. At Michelin, this approach is known as the MICHELIN Total Performance plan. It is by following this strategy that the French manufacturer succeeds in meeting the demands posed by the cars from Stuttgart, by providing Porsche with products that are ever safer, more reliable and more efficient, without sacrificing the tyre’s durability.
This is the case with the ultra-sporty Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid and the Porsche 911 GT3 (Type 991), for which Michelin has designed the new, specially-adapted MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
In September, 2013, a Porsche 918 Spyder driven by Germany’s Marc LIEB and fitted with these Michelin road tyres established a new lap record around the celebrated Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, by covering its 20.6 kilometres in just 6m57s.
As with its ultra-sporty models, Porsche has similarly homologated three ranges of Michelin tyres for the new Macan: the MICHELIN Latitude Sport 3 (for summer use), the MICHELIN Latitude Alpin 2 (winter) and the MICHELIN Latitude Tour HP (for all year-round).