Michelin: Strong partnership for top performance
Michelin and Porsche have enjoyed a successful partnership in motorsport and with production vehicles for decades. Since 1961, the French premium brand and the German sports car manufacturer have been working closely together to provide tyres for the Swabian models. The partnership has culminated, among other things, in two sensational super sports cars: in 2002, Michelin tailor-made a special tyre for the Porsche Carrera GT, and the latest Porsche 918 Hybrid is fitted exclusively with MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with N0 marking. This tyre was yes very late in the developed specifically for the 887 hp hybrid thoroughbred, which in 2015 set a new record on the Nürburgring North Loop for production sports cars fitted with road-legal tyres. Professional racing driver Marc Lieb completed the 20.6-kilometre section of the racing circuit through the legendary “Green Hell“ in a time of 6 minutes and 57 seconds, which represents an average speed of 179.5 km/h.
Numerous other Porsche models are currently benefiting from Michelin’s high performance tyres. Besides the Porsche Macan and Cayenne Sport Utility Vehicles (MICHELIN Latitude Sport 3), they also include the Porsche Panamera (MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4). The special limited-edition Porsche 911 R (991) and the two 991-series 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS high-performance sports cars, for example, in addition to the Cayman GT4, are all equipped with MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Using Bi-Compound technology and Track Longevity 2.0® technology, these road legal sports tyres combine excellent grip on dry surfaces with much improved handling in the wet. In addition, MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres feature exceptional endurance and allow cars to achieve consistent lap times under very demanding conditions on the race track.
For the 911 series, the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster models, and also for the two SUVs from Porsche, the French premium brand also supplies appropriate winter tyres in the shape of the MICHELIN Pilot Alpin PA4 and the MICHELIN Latitude Alpin LA2. All tyres have the so-called N marking, which means they have been officially approved by Porsche.
Joint Le Mans winner and 2016 World Endurance Champion
Michelin has traditionally used its successful involvement in motorsport for the development and testing of new technologies, from which the standard products manufactured by the tyre specialist also benefit. This is because longevity, energy efficiency and versatility are just as important on the racing circuit as they are in day-to-day traffic conditions on the road. In its partnership with Porsche, Michelin has claimed numerous prestigious racing victories and championship titles in the past few decades. The most recent example was in 2016, when the Porsche 919 Hybrid fitted with Michelin tyres that was driven by Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas took the overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For Michelin, this marked its 25th victory on the ”Circuit des 24 Heures“. Since 1998 – when the Porsche GT1 driven by Allan McNish, Laurent Aiello and Stéphane Ortelli was the first to cross the finishing line – the French brand has remained unbeaten in this classic endurance race.
The 19th successive victory for Michelin will also be recorded in the annals of history as the 18th Le Mans victory for Porsche. One year earlier, the Formula 1 drivers Nico Hülkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber driving a Porsche 919 Hybrid on Michelin tyres also had their names immortalised in the winners’ list. A key factor for success: the 919 Hybrid repeatedly completed quadruple stints on one and the same set of racing tyres. In the 2016 race, Marc Lieb completed 53 laps without changing tyres – this means driving a distance of 736 kilometres while subjected to extremely high loads.
At the end of an eventful 2016 season, Porsche and Michelin are certainly delighted at having also achieved the best they could possibly have hoped for with innovative hybrid prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the third year following its return to the premier league of endurance racing, the sports car manufacturer, for the second time running, in addition to winning at Le Mans, claimed both the Manufacturers’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship titles.
In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – the premier sports car series in North America – Porsche put its trust in both the promising high-tech products from Michelin in the GTLM category and the two works drivers Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen in the LM GTE Pro class of the WEC. In the world‘s most successful one-make series, the national Porsche Carrera Cup series, and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which features in a supporting role to Formula 1 racing, all the teams since 2002 have chosen Michelin tyres. Sven Müller dominated the events in 2016: the German driver won the Carrera Cup Deutschland and also claimed the Supercup championship as his own.
Porsche and Michelin: a global success story that began decades ago
High performance combined with maximum energy efficiency: that is the goal both premium brands are striving to achieve, and is something that has been demonstrated quite clearly with the Michelin Green X Challenge. This special event was introduced by the tyre manufacturer in 2009, at that time for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The prize awarded to the most energy-efficient team is an invitation to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first prize in this event has regularly been awarded to a Porsche team.
The legendary 24-hour race in Le Mans is undoubtedly one of the most important links that bind Michelin and Porsche. In addition to the 18 joint overall victories secured to date, the successful combination on the ”Circuit des 24 Heures“ has traditionally been a safe bet for class wins. The 911 GT3 RSR, for example, claimed victory in 2004, 2007 and 2010, each time in the GT2 classification on the French manufacturer’s racing tyres. In 2008, the sports car manufacturer lined up at the start in Le Mans with the open RS Spyder and promptly took first place in the LMP2 class together with Michelin. In the following year, Porsche again remained unbeaten in this category. In 2010, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Wolf Henzler won in the LM GT2 category driving the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR. In 2013, fitted with Michelin tyres, Porsche even went on to secure two class wins: in the LM GTE Pro class, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz came in first once again, this time with the additional support of Romain Dumas. And then Raymond Narac, Christophe Bourret and Jean Karl Vernay sprayed everyone with champagne to celebrate their win in the LM GTE Am class.
In the no less legendary 24 Hours of Nürburgring, Michelin and Porsche since 2000 have claimed six joint victories. In their day, Bernd Mayländer, Michael Bartels, Uwe Alzen and Altfrid Heger Porsche 911 GT3 R won the Eifel marathon. Then in 2006, Manthey Racing began their reign in the “Green Hell“: by 2011, with its Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 RSR fitted with Michelin tyres, the team had collected five wins, four of them in succession.
In 2010, Michelin and Porsche demonstrated the extent of their commitment to sustainable motorsport and resource management with an unusual project: the 911 GT3 R Hybrid incorporating a kinetic energy recovery system and flywheel energy storage was a highlight of the Nürburgring 24-hour race. Jörg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Marco Holzer and Martin Ragginger led the field for more than nine hours, as the extremely economical hybrid Porsche was able to complete one extra lap more between fuel stops than the competitors with conventional engines. Michelin’s racing tyres gave an impressive demonstration of their performance and reliability, despite the extra distance.
Porsche and Michelin also celebrated numerous joint victories in Formula 1 racing. The climax came when they won the World Championship for Drivers and World Championship for Manufacturers in the 1984 season with Niki Lauda and the McLaren TAG-Porsche. Lauda‘s team-mate at that time, Alain Prost, rounded off the successful season finishing second in the drivers’ championship.