All car drivers are aware that they are black, round and keep their expensive alloy wheels off the ground but not many appreciate the benefits of choosing the right tyres for their car and style of driving.
Michelin has interviewed some of the team’s drivers and race engineers to find out why they choose to fit Michelin tyres and why they feel fitting the correct tyres is important from a racing and road car point of view. And no, it’s not because the tyres are supplied free of charge as race teams pay like anyone else.
Unlike Formula 1, endurance racing tyres are closely linked, in terms of size and performance characteristics, to those used on high performance road cars. Endurance racing calls for tyres that will last as long as possible while offering high levels of grip in various conditions from their first lap to their last. As a result, in last year’s Le Mans 24 hour race, the No.2 Audi R18 TDI managed to race for 750kms on one set of tyres, and at speeds of up to 330km/h with three Peugeots in hot pursuit.
In 2012 Audi will field two R18 e-tron quattro’s and two R18 ultra prototypes at Le Mans – all shod with Michelin tyres. The two hybrid cars will be driven by last year’s Le Mans winning trio of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, and Benoît Tréluyer with Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Allan McNish in the other car. The R18 Ultra will see Loïc Duval joined by Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas with the other R18 Ultra driven by Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller.
In the video, drivers Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen, and race engineer Howden Haynes share their views and experiences of tyres and talk about how innovation in motorsport benefits drivers with better cars and tyres.