Posted on August 07, 2015

Michelin to Bring Two of the World’s Rarest Autos to Monterey Car Week

11 a 5 beautiful minutes minute read

120-year-old Michelin L’Eclair was first car to drive on inflated tires and rare Koenigsegg One:1 is fastest production car ever to wear famous French tire brand

GREENVILLE, S.C., AUG. 7, 2015 – Michelin is coming to the famed Monterey Car Week with a vehicle that blazed a path in automotive history that didn’t involve powerful engines or fancy sheet metal but quite simply air. The L’Eclair automobile commissioned by the Michelin brothers in 1895 rode on four skinny, white rubber inflated tires that proved once and for all that the future of the car would not be limited by the unforgiving rigidity of solid circles.

As a presenting sponsor of three top events scheduled about the scenic California peninsula, Michelin is bringing a replica of the L’Eclair from its company museum in France and the scarcely seen high-performance Koenigsegg One:1 from Sweden.


Described as a museum springing to life, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the largest event held during the famed Monterey Classic Car Week, and is the only event in which the cars do what they were originally intended to do: race. Approximately 550 race cars are invited to compete in the world’s premier vintage motoring event, and are accepted based on their authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.

In the garages at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Michelin will showcase more than 100 years of innovation that have led to numerous “firsts” for the automotive world. The company will also mark its 24th win at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans which came this past June.

This theme will come to life on Saturday, Aug. 15 when two key vehicles will be on display, showcasing Michelin’s pivotal role in being the “first” and the “fastest.”

“The First” = L’Eclair

In 1895, no auto manufacturer wanted to fit its vehicles with air-filled tires, so, in cooperation with Peugeot, Edouard and Andre Michelin decided to produce their own automobile that could use this revolutionary tire technology.

Named L’Eclair (its French name meaning “lightning bolt”—a reference to its erratic zig-zag motion), the car was entered in the 1,200-kilometer Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race with the Michelin brothers at the helm.  The first car ever to be equipped with pneumatic tires, L’Eclair arrived in Paris dead last, but succeeded in doing so within the 100 hours allowed for the race. 

However, the Michelin brothers had proven their point: it is possible to ride on air. Thus, a revolution in mobility was born.

This week, L’Eclair will make a milestone trip from Clermont-Ferrand, France to the Michelin garage at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion—its first-ever visit to North American soil.

“The Fastest” = Koenigsegg One:1

Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Koenigsegg One:1’s production was limited to seven, including one prototype. The One:1 has the distinction of being among the most exclusive production cars ever. Its hp-to-kg curb weight ratio is an astonishing 1:1-- an equation once thought impossible to accomplish with a fully road-legal  sports car, the car proudly displays this accomplishment with its  One:1 moniker.

The One:1 is the first homologated production car in the world to produce one megawatt of power (1,341 hp),  making it the world´s first production series “megacar.”

Michelin has a long history as a technical partner with Koenigsegg. For the One:1, Michelin specifically tuned the MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 to optimize performance.  At Monterey, the Koenigsegg One:1 will arrive in North America for the first time,  where it will be prominently displayed in the Michelin garages at Laguna Seca Raceway.


The Porsche Club of America will hold its second annual Werks Reunion on Friday, Aug. 14 at Rancho Canada Golf Club. Attendees will be treated to a stunning display of more than 500 Porsches.

Admission is free to the general public.

 “A celebration of the Porsche GTs”

This year at the WERKS Reunion, for the first time in one location, Michelin will display all four models of Porsche’s race-inspired GT family: 

  • 1996 Porsche 911 GT1 – The competition version, which won its debut appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racing on MICHELIN® competition tires. The rare street-legal homologation special wore MICHELIN® Pilot® tires.
  • Porsche 911 GT2 – The 996-generation on display wore MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport tires as its standard original equipment fitment.
  • Porsche 911 GT3 – Considered one of the world’s most pure sports cars, the 997-generation car on display wears MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 tires.
  • Porsche Cayman GT4 – The newest member of Porsche’s vaunted GT family wears OE fitment MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 tires.


Although the Legends of The Autobahn is a relatively new event on the Monterey calendar, it has sustained exponential growth since its 2009 debut as a standalone BMW concours.

Event organizers, recognizing the potential for a “German alternative” event during the annual Monterey Sports Car Weekend, invited the Mercedes-Benz club for the 2010 event—an expansion so well received that Audi joined in 2012.

Now in its sixth year, the Legends of the Autobahn concours, has become a local and regional sensation. For 2015, Legends of the Autobahn returns to the Nicklaus Club on Friday, Aug. 14.  Admission is free to the general public.

Germany’s best on Michelin Tires

The Michelin display at Legends of the Autobahn celebrates partnerships with Germany’s top automakers to provide custom-tuned tires, which help their sports cars achieve their full performance potential.

Visitors to the Michelin display will be able to get up close and personal with:

  • BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe – Michelin celebrates 30 years as the exclusive tire of Alpina vehicles, including the OE Fitment MICHELIN® Pilot® Super Sports found on the B6 Gran Coupe.
  • Audi R8 – 2016 brings a new R8 and a new 20-inch option in 2016 with MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 tires.
  • Mercedes-AMG GT-S – The new high-performance flagship features OE Fitment MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup 2 tires.

About Michelin North America

Michelin, the leading mobility company, is dedicated to enhancing its clients’ mobility, sustainably; designing and distributing the most suitable tires, services and solutions for its clients’ needs; providing digital services, maps and guides to help enrich trips and travels and make them unique experiences; and developing high-technology materials that serve a variety of industries. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America ( has more than 21,400 employees and operates 19 major manufacturing plants. 

Be the first to comment.
Leave a Comment