Jean-Eric Vergne returns to winning ways
Defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah/Michelin) claimed his first win of the 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship at Round 6 in Sanya, China....
In the course of the first half of the 12-round 2018/2019 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the new Michelin Pilot Sport had to contend with an exceptional variety of conditions, from cold and rainstorms, to extremely hot weather and even sand. It rose to the occasion in style, however, and some of the new-generation racing tyre’s technological bricks have been incorporated into the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV road tyre that was launched at March’s Geneva Show.
To match the power upgrade boasted by Formula E’s latest ‘Gen2’ single-seaters, Michelin launched a new, even lighter, more durable and more versatile version of the Pilot Sport for the all-electric championship’s fifth season, and the newcomer has had to cope with some pretty extreme conditions over the first six rounds.
For the inaugural race in Saudi Arabia, for example, the circuit’s surface was coated in wet sand in places, making grip one of the day’s biggest challenges. Yet the Pilot Sport allowed the drivers to qualify at average speeds in excess of 120kph!
In Marrakech, Morocco, the thermometer stood at just 5°C when the cars left the pits for Free Practice 1. “Despite the cold, and the fact that tyre warmers are not allowed in Formula E, the Pilot Sport needed just one to one-and-a-half laps to get up to its ideal working temperature and deliver its full potential,” notes Serge Grisin, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s Formula E programme.
In contrast, ground temperatures reached as high as 52°C in the streets of Santiago, Chile, scene of the campaign’s third clash. Never before had the series experienced such heat and, this season, it mustn’t be forgotten that drivers have a single set of tyres each per meeting, which equated to a distance of almost 100km that weekend. “Not only was the Pilot Sport competitive all the way to the chequered flag but some teams also reported that its performance improved with every lap,” reports Serge Grisin.
Next came Hong Kong, Formula E’s 50
Overall, the first half of the 2018/2019 championship proved particularly positive for the Michelin Pilot Sport which, say the drivers, has more of a ‘racing’ feel to it, not to mention superior grip and even better performance compared with its predecessor.
“In spite of this all this varied punishment, we haven’t come across a single problem,” observes Serge Grisin.