After providing Michelin with the first of its recent sequence of victories at Le Mans with Laurent Aïello, Stéphane Ortelli and Allan McNish in 1998 (Porsche 911 GT1-98), Porsche earned the tire firm’s 20th straight victory in the endurance racing classic over the weekend.
Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley (N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid) who claimed the prize after winning the weekend’s drama-packed race which was led during the hours of darkness by the N°1 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy), in the wake of the near-simultaneous retirements of the N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) and N°9 (Lapierre/Kunimoto/Lopez) Toyota TS050-Hybrids, and after the long period spent by the N°8 Toyota (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) in its pits to resolve a technical issue.
During this time, the N°2 Porsche concentrated on its bid to recover the chunk of time it had lost on Saturday evening while curing a technical problem. Undeterred, and after the race had been led briefly by an LM P2 prototype, the three drivers went on to emerge at the top of the order with one hour remaining.
Since the beginning of its uninterrupted sequence of 20 Le Mans victories in 1998, Michelin has won the Le Mans 24 Hours in association with Audi, Bentley, BMW, Peugeot and Porsche. Prior to that, it won the French marathon with McLaren, Mercedes, Alpine-Renault and Chenard & Walcker.
Pascal Couasnon, director of Michelin Motorsport, said that this run of 20 wins demonstrates that Michelin has succeeded in providing its partners with winning solutions that have matched the evolution of the cars and the race itself over the past two decades.
Our ability to think ahead and respond to new challenges has been one of the driving forces behind the new technologies we have developed over recent years and which have gradually found their way onto our road tires. This approach has allowed us to build fruitful technical partnerships with the automobile world’s biggest and most prestigious carmakers, and thereby foster innovations and facilitate the transfer of new technologies from the race track to the street. Today, I would like to congratulate Porsche on its 19th Le Mans victory, especially since our association with the German brand goes back a very long way.—Pascal Couasnon
Michelin is currently working on a new generation of more energy-efficient, connected tires incorporating advanced biotechnologies. (Earlier post.)