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Michelin claims 24th victory in Le Mans 24 Hours

Michelin claims 24th victory in Le Mans 24 Hours
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Michelin claimed its 18th consecutive win at the Le Mans 24 Hours in France last week, bringing their total victories to 24 since the famous endurance race was organized in 1923.

The Porsche team, aided by Michelin’s competitive, consistent tires, dethroned defending champion Audi with a one-two finish by the No. 19 and No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrids.

Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber, and Nick Tandy steered their Porsche sports-prototype racing vehicle to an emphatic victory, while the No. 17, led by Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, and Timo Bernhard finished second.

The German firm continues to be the most successful car maker in Le Mans history.

Porsche Team also established a new track lap record for the 13.629-km circuit on June 10. Neel Jani’s time of 3 minutes 16.887 seconds (249kph) smashed the previous record, which was posted in 2008 by Stéphane Sarrazin (Peugeot 908 HDI), who is now a member of the Toyota Racing line-up.

The performance of this year’s LMP1 prototypes marked a big step forward, and this was further illustrated by the fastest race lap, which was clocked by the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the hands of Benoît Tréluyer on its 337th lap. His time of 3 minutes 17.475 seconds 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 [the] 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. All the LM P1 manufacturer teams used a single type of tire for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours,  namely the Michelin ‘soft hot weather’ slick, designed to give its best at temperatures ranging from 18 to 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 Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s FIA WEC program.

Michelin’s 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 736 kilometers on a single set.

It is important to recall that the current generation LM P1 prototype tires are between five and six centimeters narrower and two kilos lighter each compared with 2013. At the same time, the cars’ aerodynamic downforce has increased, as well as the power of their engines.

The flawless reliability of the No. 64 factory Corvette C7 saw Gavin, Milner, and Taylor secure the LM GTE Pro class win at Le Mans. The victory in the French race of the American brand, which is an exclusive partner of Michelin both in racing and for the supply of original equipment tires for its road cars, means it has now won the 2015 calendar’s ‘big three’ endurance races, after earlier successes at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Couasnon was swift to congratulate Corvette Racing. “Our partner has now won three of the world’s most prestigious races. 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.”

There was no winner of the Michelin Total Performance Award this year. The prize fund of €1M destined to reward innovation at Le Mans will consequently be carried over to 2016.

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.

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