Michelin's 10-year association with the Asian Le Mans Series
Michelin is a founding partner of the Asian Le Mans Series (ALMS) endurance racing championship which was this year held in the United Arab Emirates. The hotly-contested prize for the competition's three class-winners was an invitation to take part in the centenary Le Mans 24 Hours on June 10-11.
Following Acura/Michelin's success in January's 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida, USA, the world of endurance racing turned its attention to the Asian scene where the ALMS has been staged over two consecutive weekends in the United Arab Emirates ever since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Michelin has been the exclusive tire supplier to the series since its launch by the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) in 2013. As a consequence, all the LMP2 and LMP3 prototype and GT3 entries compete on MICHELIN Pilot Sport GT M tires which are acclaimed for their versatility, longevity and performance and which pack innovative technologies from the firm's FIA World Endurance Championship range.
The 2023 ALMS registered a record 48-strong entry and was based on a program of four races – two in Dubai and two at Abu Djabi's Yas Marina Circuit. The grid boasted 10 new teams, plus a long list of top drivers all hoping to earn an invite for this year's Le Mans .
In LMP2, the first three rounds provided Algarve Pro Racing, Inter Europol Competition and Cool Racing with a chance to shine, but the title was pocketed by DKR Engineering whose Oreca07-Gibson/Michelin scored a win and three other podium placings in the hands of Yoluc/Eastwood/Guven. In 2022, the Luxemburg-based outfit won the Road to Le Mans race with Michelin as part of the build-up to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
There were four different winners, too, in LMP3 which was ulmtimately topped by Graff Racing's Ligier JS P320-Nissan/Michelin (Rossello/Lloveras/Heriau). The GT battle was dominated by German teams Walkenhorst Motorsport (BMW M4) and Haupt Racing Team (Mercedes-AMG), with the crown ultimately going to the N°34 BMW M4 GT3/Michelin of Hull/Catsburg/Merrill.
Meanwhile, the 2023 Michelin Le Mans Cup – which also forms part of the endurance-racing pyramid – has attracted a record 42 entries, along with the Michelin-tired hydrogen-fueled H24 prototype which is equipped with a fuel cell made by Symbio, a Michelin subsidary. The car will contest selected rounds as its development continues with a view to a participation in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the future.