By Alex Kapadia
Michelin tyres are applying the lessons they have learned developing environmentally-friendly road tyres to the world of endurance racing.
Endurance racing enables Michelin to showcase the added value of its tyres with regard to durability, grip, consistency and safety, not to mention respect for the environment.
The French tyres maker has also established the Michelin Green X Challenge to reward the efforts of those teams which succeeded in combining performance with energy efficiency.
Frederic Henry-Biabaud, Michelin’s Competition Director, said: ‘Endurance racing is the Michelin Group’s priority in motor sport today.
‘Endurance racing enables Michelin to showcase the added value of its tyres with regard to durability, grip, consistency and safety, not to mention respect for the environment.’
In relation to the latter, he added: ‘Our intention is to profit from the lead the Michelin brand has taken with road tyres for more than 15 years and apply it to our circuit racing activities.’
This year the Michelin Green X Challenge will extend to include the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series.
The challenge rewards those competitors which succeed in consuming the least fuel while at the same time optimising performance. The team which comes out on top in the Michelin Green X Challenge after the five rounds of the 2009 Le Mans Series will be given an automatic entry for the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Since it was first organised in 1923 “with a view to revealing the potential of vehicles that figure in the catalogue of motor manufacturers”, the Le Mans 24 Hours has never ceased to be a unique testing ground for carmakers, component providers and, of course, tyres firms like Michelin.