As it celebrates its 100-year association with Le Mans, Michelin reasserts its belief in motorsport as a unique accelerator of sustainable innovation
- A new active #WeRaceForChange campaign
- A new tyre containing 63% sustainable materials for GreenGT's hydrogen racing prototype and the all-electric Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance
- With simulator technology such a key contributor to taking mobility forward, Michelin has boosted its digital capacity with the acquisition of Canopy Simulation
This month sees Michelin, the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) and its partners come together to celebrate the centenary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the world's toughest and most prestigious motor race. The French firm is marking this landmark occasion with a review of the many innovations the twice-around-the-clock classic has helped it to develop over the past 100 years:
- 1923 – Triumph for Chenard & Walcker on removable Michelin
- 1951 – First radial tyre to compete in topflight racing
- 1967 – First appearance of groove-less slick tyres
- 2005 – Tyres for the the Audi R10 TDI, the first diesel prototype to race at Le Mans
- 2014 – Smaller tyres for the LM P1 prototypes (5cm to 6cm narrower, 15% lighter)
- 2014 – The MICHELIN Hybrid 'intermediate slick'
- 2021 – The tyres for the new Hypercar class developed entirely on the simulator
Michelin has long seen the Le Mans 24 Hours as a unique challenge that is capable of accelerating the emergence of sustainable innovations. The uncompromising nature of motorsport in general and of Le Mans in particular, not to mention the production-flexibility they necessitate and the value of the data they provide across an incomparably wide spectrum of situations, make racing an increasingly pertinent means to address the mobility and environmental issues we face today.
For the centenary edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Michelin is promoting its new #WeRaceForChange campaign which targets the general public. Especially visible in the circuit's spectator Village, its aim is to explain the extent to which motorsport contributes to innovation, with a special focus on the different professions and areas of activity it mobilises. Michelin can justifiably look back at perhaps the most varied and glittering record in the sport, but the reason it goes racing is to shape future mobility, not merely to collect titles and trophies.
Spectators visiting the Village at Le Mans will be able to explore Michelin's attractive stand which chronicles the French firm's innovations at the race. Displays include the new tyre incorporating 63 percent sustainable materials it has developed for Green GT's H24 hydrogen-powered racing prototype.
This tyre fits perfectly with Michelin's resolve to employ sustainable materials across its range, with a Group target of using biosourced, recycled or renewable raw materials exclusively for its entire catalogue by 2050.
On-track, Michelin has produced a brand-new range of tyres for endurance racing's Hypercar class conceived exclusively on the simulator. Michelins capacity to accurately replicate the behaviour of its tyres in digital form stems from its extensive database and ability to process smart data using the most sophisticated mathematical algorithms.
More than two decades' experience of advanced simulation technology has helped Michelin to produce Tame Tire, a unique, patented and encrypted thermo-mechanical modelling tool for tyres. By dynamically reproducing the effects temperature fluctuations have on raw materials and tyre pressures on the racetrack, Tame Tire is making a significant contribution to the development of not only racing tyres, but also tyres for today's high-performance road cars.
Furthermore, it enables the way tyres and chassis interact to be analysed as manufacturers step up the electrification of their ranges, including how the weight-distribution and load characteristics of their respective models vary during use.
To further boost its digital capacity, Michelin recently acquired the British company Canopy Simulations, a specialist in the field of lap-time simulation. Its unique expertise is enhanced by the trajectory simulator it has developed to add a high-performance 'virtual-driver' factor into the equation. This know-how is enabling Michelin to accelerate its research and development programme by giving these 'virtual drivers' standardised tasks that are currently performed by real drivers on dynamic simulators.
One-hundred years on from its maiden win at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1923, Michelin's capacity for innovation continues to pick up speed, therefore, with motorsport playing a major role in rolling out a strategy founded on technological progress.
To share its endurance racing heritage and vision for the future, Michelin has revived the Michelin Café which is conveniently situated at the northern end of the circuit's Media Office.
The aim of the Michelin Café is to provide a relaxed environment for journalists to take a brief step back from their work, trade ideas and wind down. Its opening hours are:
- Wednesday/Thursday (June 7-8): from 4pm, until 00:30pm;
- Friday (June 9): closed;
- Saturday/Sunday (June 10-11): from 8:00am Saturday, until 6pm Sunday (non-stop service).
The Michelin Café is open to all media pass holders.
A brief guide to Michelin's tyre range for the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours
- Michelin's latest Hypercar tyre range is competing at Le Mans for the first time.
- A choice of three colour-coded MICHELIN Pilot Sport slicks:
- White sidewall marking: SOFT compound,
- Yellow sidewall marking: MEDIUM compound,
- Red sidewall marking: HARD compound.
- A single, particularly versatile new MICHELIN Pilot Sport WET for the Hypercar prototypes, instead of the availability of two wet-weather options previously.
- Michelin's range for the LM GTE Am cars is identical to that seen in 2022.
- 37 of the 62 cars entered for the centenary Le Mans 24 Hours are racing on Michelin tyres.
- Number of Michelin tyres available for the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours: 8,000.
All the important information about the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours and Michelin innovations from 1923 to 2023 can also be found in our Press Kit.