Michelin and Le Mans
An innovative alliance
- 30 June 2023 |
- Partner News
Text | Photos:Michelin
100 years of racing classics at Le Mans: motorsport as a driver for sustainable innovation
This month, Michelin, the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) and its partners celebrate the 100th anniversary of the toughest and most prestigious endurance race in the world - the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The French company is taking this opportunity to look back at the many innovations that Michelin has produced over the past 100 years thanks to the racing classic:
- 1923 - Triumph for Chenard & Walcker on interchangeable MICHELIN tyres.
- 1951 - The first radial tyre is used in top-level racing.
- 1967 - Debut of grooveless slick tyres.
- 2005 - Tyres for the Audi R10 TDI, the first diesel prototype to compete at Le Mans.
- 2014 - Debut of the MICHELIN Hybrid "Intermediate Slick"
- 2021 - First tyres developed entirely on the simulator for the new hypercar class.
For Michelin, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been a unique opportunity to develop sustainable innovations - precisely because of the special conditions in motorsport and the large amount of data acquired. Thus, racing is still an indispensable tool today when it comes to further developing mobility and meeting current environmental challenges.
#WeRaceForChange: How motorsport promotes innovation
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Michelin launches its new #WeRaceForChange campaign. The campaign presents the various professions and fields of activity related to motorsport and shows the contribution they and the sport itself make to innovation.
Michelin looks back on an illustrious record in racing, which it hopes will continue in the future: The motivation here is not just to collect titles and trophies, but above all to shape the mobility of tomorrow.
Visitors to the camp in Le Mans can expect an attractive stand with the innovations of the French company. Among other things, they will be able to see the new tyre, which is made of 63 per cent sustainable materials and was designed for Green GT's hydrogen-powered H24 racing prototype.
This tyre symbolises Michelin's self-imposed goal to use increasingly more bio-based, recycled or renewable materials across its tyre range. The group has committed to manufacturing its entire product range exclusively from sustainable materials by 2050.
Michelin further expands digital expertise
Michelin has developed a brand new range of tyres for the hypercar class of endurance racing, designed entirely on the simulator. Thanks to its extensive database and sophisticated mathematical algorithms, Michelin is now able to accurately model the characteristics of its tyres in digital form.
Michelin has achieved a breakthrough in simulation technology with Tame Tire: Two decades of experience went into the unique thermomechanical modelling tool for tyres, patented and encrypted by Michelin. By dynamically replicating all the effects of temperature variations on materials and tyre pressure on the race track, "Tame Tire" makes an important contribution to the development not only of racing tyres, but also of tyres for modern high-performance road vehicles.
To further expand its digital expertise, Michelin has recently acquired the British company Canopy Simulations, a specialist in the field of lap time simulation. This adds a driving motion simulator to the unique know-how of "Tame Tire", which incorporates an ideal "virtual driver" into the equations. Michelin can further accelerate its research and development programme by having standardised tasks performed by virtual drivers.
A hundred years after its first victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1923, Michelin's innovation continues to gather pace. Motorsport will continue to play an important role in driving technological advances in the future.
The MICHELIN range of tyres for the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours at a glance
- The latest MICHELIN Hypercar tyre range makes its debut.
- Three colour-coded MICHELIN Pilot Sport slicks:
- White sidewall marking: SOFT compound,
- Yellow sidewall marking: MEDIUM compound,
- Red sidewall marking: HARD blend,
- A new, extra versatile MICHELIN Pilot Sport WET for the hypercar prototypes instead of the two rain tyre options previously used.
- The Michelin range for the LMGTE Am cars is identical to that for 2022.
- 37 of the 62 cars entered for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will drive on MICHELIN tyres.
- 8000 MICHELIN tyres available to teams are planned for the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours.