Starting with the Rolex 24 at Daytona 24 Hour race and in a multi-year agreement, Michelin will be the Official Tire of IMSA. The partnership includes not on...
The long-lasting performance credentials of the Michelin Pilot Sport helped the French firm to make a decisive mark at the opening round of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Notorious as a gruelling test of speed and resilience, last weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona on Florida’s east coast was won by the Acura ARX-05 of Taylor/Albuquerque/Rossi/Castroneves who got Michelin’s 2021 endurance racing campaign off to the perfect start. Michelin has been a major partner of the North American series since 2019 and is this year working with no fewer than 18 carmakers.
Thanks to events like the 24 Hours of Daytona, Michelin has long seen endurance racing as an invaluable high-tech lab for the incubation of new mobility-enhancing technologies.
This January’s visit to the Florida coast attracted no fewer than 100 cars and 300 drivers, including household names like Jimmie Johnson, Juan-Pablo Montoya, Robert Kubica, Kevin Magnussen and Simon Pagenaud who were all there to push the Michelin Pilot Sport to its absolute limit.
After establishing a long list of new distance records at last year’s race, the French firm’s endurance racing range provided further proof of its lasting-performance credentials at last weekend’s meeting where a strict sanitary protocol was observed due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking all the cars into consideration, Michelin’s tyres completed more than 190,000 kilometres in the course of the 24-hour classic in extreme conditions (an average of almost 8,000km every hour) and the resulting data will now be carefully analysed with a view to assisting the development of new products.
The longevity and grip delivered by the Michelin Pilot Sport range enabled the teams to stage a thrilling competition which concluded with three different makes on the podium. Acura beat Cadillac and Mazda to the top step to collect its first-ever win in a 24-hour race, while Chevrolet, Oreca, Ligier, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren and Audi all enjoyed success in their respective classes and series.
After Daytona, the 2021 IMSA campaign will continue with the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17-20 and conclude with Petit Le Mans at the Michelin Raceway (Road Atlanta) on October 6-9. Michelin is the official supplier of tyres to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge.
Since 2019, all the carmakers involved have started from pole position or won an IMSA race at least once on the rubber provided by Michelin. This year, its partner teams also include Toyota which is showcasing the new Toyota Supra GT4 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. The ties between Michelin and Toyota in motorsport goes back many years and have harvested world titles in both endurance racing and rallying, not to mention numerous top results in disciplines such as Formula 1 and cross-country rallying.
Meanwhile, the Asian Le Mans Series is scheduled to take place this month in Abu Dhabi where the 36 Michelin-shod cars face a programme of four races.
After that, at the beginning of April, the 2021 FIA Endurance World Championship will kick off with the 8 Hours of Portimão, Portugal, ahead of Belgium’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the Le Mans 24 Hours in France (June 12-13). This year’s FIA WEC sees the debut of the new Hypercar prototypes which will all compete on Michelin Pilot Sport Endurance tyres.