While Toyota wrapped up the first-ever world title of the new Hypercar era in association with Michelin at Sakhir International Circuit at the end of October...
This weekend’s bill at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida, USA, stars both the 1,000 Miles of Sebring (Round 1 of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (Round 2 of this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship). The Super Sebring meeting promises to be a busy few days for Michelin and its partners.
After being cancelled two years running due to Covid restrictions, the Super Sebring show returns this weekend when the former US Army airfield will host more than 250 drivers and around 100 teams, while the tens of thousands of spectators will get to enjoy some 50 hours of track action!
“Super Sebring is one of the biggest events of the year for Michelin,” says Pierre Alves, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programs. “It features two world-class championships, namely the FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and provides us with a formidable opportunity to showcase the performance and longevity of our tires. We also plan to use the time to work on our future endurance racing ranges and strengthen our bonds with the FIA and IMSA ahead of the introduction of joint LMH and LMDh regulations in 2023.”
From next year, LMH and LMDh prototypes will effectively be authorized to contest both series, with Michelin as the exclusive tire supplier with a range of Pilot Sports developed specifically for the two types of car.
“The new Hypercars are competing at Sebring for the very first time this year, so that will give us a chance to collect valuable data for the development of our 2023 range,” notes Pierre Alves.
Sebring’s bumpy, part-concrete, part-asphalt track puts the cars’ chassis, suspension and tires to an exceptionally grueling test. “Grip levels and track temperatures change from one type of surface to the next, so it’s vital to find the ideal comprise in terms of tire choice and pressures. The casings have to cope with particularly big constraints over the bumpier sections.”
Three years ago, Fernando Alonso established a new lap record for Sebring before going on to win the 1,000 Miles race in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin he shared with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Toyota returns to the FIA WEC classic this year with a brace of GR010 Hybrids which will face opposition from an Alpine A480 and a Glickenhaus 007-LMH.
Meanwhile, all the Aston Martin, Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche teams competing in the fiercely competitive LM GTE Pro and Am classes – which permit open competition between tire firms – have chosen Michelin rubber.
In 2018, Michelin was named Official Tire of IMSA by the organizer of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and its support series. All 53 cars entered for the 70