Porsche teamed with Michelin to notch its 17th overall win at last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours thanks to a one-two finish with the N°19 (Hülkenberg/Bamber/Tandy) and N°17 (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber) Porsche 919 Hybrids. The German firm, an original equipment partner of Michelin, continues to be the most successful carmaker in Le Mans history.
Aided by Michelin's competitive, consistent tires which are a perfect match for the configuration of the 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team also established a new track lap record for the 13.629km (8.47 mile) circuit during qualifying on Wednesday, June 10. Neel Jani's time of 3m16.887s (154.8mph) smashed the previous record and was nearly five seconds quicker than the 2014 pole time.
The performance of this year's LMP1 prototypes marked a big step forward, as illustrated by the fastest race lap which was clocked by the N°7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the hands of Benoît Tréluyer on its 337th lap. His time of 3m17.475s was further evidence of the ferocity of the battle that opposed the two German makes over the weekend.
"Michelin would like to congratulate the Porsche Team on its one-two finish and also Audi Sport on its podium. We are also delighted to have taken our score to 24 victories in the world's most prestigious and most exacting endurance race," said Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin Motorsport
"This year's Le Mans 24 Hours saw Michelin provide another eloquent illustration of the performance and grip of its endurance racing tires which successfully covered distances in excess of 700km. The ability of Michelin's tires to multi-stint, which used to be an exception not so many years ago, has today become an integral part of our partner teams' strategies,” said Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin Motorsport's FIA WEC program.
All the LM P1 manufacturer teams used a single type of tire for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours: the MICHELIN 'soft hot weather' slick, which is designed to give its best at track temperatures ranging from 64 F (18°C) to 104 F (40°C).
“The work carried out by Michelin Motorsport's engineers on the tires' temperature windows as a function of the track temperature has definitely paid dividends," said Mondain.
Michelin's technical partners Audi Sport Team Joest, Porsche Team and Toyota Racing all performed quadruple stints on the same tires in the course of the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, covering distances of up to 457 miles (736 kilometres) on a single set.
The current-generation LM P1 prototype tires are over two inches (between five and six centimeters) narrower and nearly four and a half pounds (two kilos) lighter each compared with 2013. At the same time, the cars' aerodynamic downforce has increased, as has the power of their engines.
Corvette claims endurance racing's Triple Crown
The speed and flawless reliability of the N°64 factory Corvette C7 saw Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor secure the LM GTE Pro class win at Le Mans. Corvette is an exclusive partner of Michelin both in racing and for the supply of original equipment tires for its road cars. It has now won the 2015 calendar's 'big three' endurance races, after earlier successes at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin Motorsport was swift to congratulate Corvette Racing: "Our partner has now won three of the world's most prestigious races already this year. The high quality of our work together with Corvette is to be found in the exceptional performance of both the track and street versions of the C7."
Corvette Racing will return to competition in North America in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on June 28 at Watkins Glen, New York.
The next round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship will take teams to Germany on August 30 for the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring.