Technical Stunner; Michelin invents ‘Hybrid’

June 14, 2012

Technical Stunner; Michelin invents ‘Hybrid’

June 14, 2012

The new Michelin Hybrid tire is a slick tread tire for damp and drying track conditions

As Michelin’s technical partners Audi and Toyota explore hybrid power in motor racing, Michelin has developed a revolutionary new ‘hybrid’ (slick/intermediate) tire for damp and drying track conditions.

The latest endurance racing tyre to be developed by Michelin’s engineers combines the carcass of an ‘intermediate’ tyre with a ‘slick’ tread. It is available for all the Michelin technical partners contesting the 2012 Le Mans 24 in the LMP1 prototype class on the ‘bigger’ tyres, namely the Audi R18 ultra and e-tron quattro, the Toyota TS030 Hybrid, the Dome S102.5, the Pescarolo 03 and the Lola-Toyota.

Engineers, chemists and developers from Michelin Competition started work on this new concept in association with their colleagues at the Michelin Technology Centre immediately after last year’s visit to Le Mans.

“We tested the new hybrid tyre at the end of 2011,” said a Michelin spokesperson. “Audi and Toyota then both ran it in testing during the spring. Audi also raced it at Spa and it turned out to be one of the cornerstones of the win of the N°3 car: Marc Gené used it for his second stint on a track that was still damp from earlier rain. It is effectively very efficient in drying conditions.”

Because of its length (13.629km), the circuit at Le Mans can often be wet in one sector but perfectly dry elsewhere. In situations like that, the drivers want a reassuring tyre which is quick to get up to temperature, while also delivering consistency and, of course, performance. The new Michelin Hybrid ticks all those boxes.

It was officially presented to the media at a Michelin press conference at Le Mans this evening (Wednesday). The forecast is for unsettled weather for the 80th Le Mans 24 Hours, so it could end up playing a decisive role this weekend.

-with thanks to

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