On two wheels and four, Michelin racked up another impressive list of wins in 2022, in competitions ranging from the FIM MotoGPTM and FIA Formula E World Championships, to the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship) and FIM MotoETM World Cup. More than ever, Michelin sees motorsport as a laboratory for the development of increasingly sustainable, high-performance tires.
Michelin has long considered motorsport to be an arena that fosters innovations for the ultimate benefit of ordinary road users. In today’s age, racing provides it with an exceptional opportunity to work on new materials with a view to reducing the environmental impact of its tires and meeting its sustainable-mobility pledges.
In 2022, this progress took several forms, including the introduction of a new rear tire containing 46 percent recycled, biobased or renewable sustainable materials for the FIM MotoETM World Cup’s all-electric motorcycles. Its performance helped Dynavolt Intact’s Dominique Aegerter clinch the year’s Riders’ title.
Another landmark achieved in 2022 was the first lap of the full 13-kilometer Le Mans circuit by the hydrogen-fueled H24 prototype equipped with an advanced Michelin endurance-racing tire that contains 53 percent sustainable materials. Just prior to that, the car – with which Michelin is associated not only as tire supplier but also through the work of its subsidiary, Symbio, on its fuel cell – contested its maiden race, at Imola, Italy.
Another area of Michelin’s sustainable-mobility focus was its involvement in the Formula E World Championship for the eighth consecutive season after signing up as a founding partner of the all-electric series. This year, the French firm clocked up its 100th Formula E victory in 2022. Furthermore, since the championship’s very first round in 2014, the different generations of the Michelin Pilot Sport EV racing tire have completed no fewer than 172,000 kilometers around demanding street circuits the world over, and across an exceptional spectrum of conditions.
Technologies resulting from this program are today featured on the road-going version of the Michelin Pilot Sport EV which has lost no time emerging as a benchmark in the tire market for high-performance electric and hybrid cars.
Meanwhile, other high-profile, high-tech championships enabled Michelin to work on notions like outright performance and durability in 2022, including Japan’s Super GT series and Germany’s NLS. The materials, rubber compounds, simulation technology and processes employed in these competitions are directly beneficial to Michelin’s Customer Racing range and, in many cases, can be carried over to its road tires.
The H24 hydrogen prototype completes its first lap of Le Mans on Michelin endurance racing tires that incorporate 53 percent sustainable materials
Customer Racing, a fundamental part of Michelin Motorsport’s activities, produced another enviable harvest of top results in association with its partner carmakers, constructors and teams in 2022.
In endurance racing, for example, North America’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the Asian Le Mans Series were won respectively by Acura, Audi and Oreca on Michelin rubber. Elsewhere, Michelin Pilot Sport GT tires scooped the top prizes in Germany’s DTM (BMW) and the Macau GT Cup (Mercedes).
Michelin was also a partner of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, the International GT Open, the Ultimate Cup Series, one-make series such as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (an association that has lasted 20 years), all the Porsche Carrera Cups organized around the world, the Alpine Elf Europa Cup and the Ligier JS Cup, etc.
Michelin may not be active currently in the World Rally Championship, but its expertise and experience (347 wins, 58 titles) at the sport’s highest helped it to claim numerous major titles this season with its Michelin Pilot Sport and Michelin Latitude Cross ranges. This list includes the national crowns in France, Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Chile, plus the FIA’s European and Middle-East regional championships.
On two-wheels, in addition to its MotoGP and MotoE successes, Michelin triumphed in the FIM X-Trial and TrialGP World Championships with Honda, as well as in Hard Enduro with KTM. On the off-road scene, Sam Sunderland and Gas Gas took the Cross-Country title and won the Dakar Rally with Michelin, while the French Superbike series (FSBK) was won by Kenny Foray (BMW-Tecmas/Michelin).
Michelin’s Customer Racing department is also very active in historic motorsport and is regularly successful on events like the Tour de Corse Historique (Corsica, France) which it won this year with Porsche. It’s range of tires for historic rallying and circuit racing incorporate modern technologies that further heighten the pleasure of driving the exceptional cars involved in these competitions.
It’s not just historic racing that benefits from Michelin’s knowhow, though. Sim Racing drivers also reap the benefits of the firm’s engineering expertise in Esports, including a partnership with Gran Turismo, the world finals of which in Monaco were followed live by more than 100 million fans!
The 2023 season promises to provide Michelin Motorsport with more success as the department celebrates its 50th anniversary. The hundreds of real and virtual events on its program around the world include the centenary-edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, not to mention the arrival of a long list of prestigious carmakers to endurance racing and the company’s continuing work in favor of sustainable motorsport and mobility.
Michelin’s international record in 2022
FIM MotoGP World Championship: Francesco Bagnaia / Ducati
FIA World Endurance Championship: Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa / Toyota
FIA GT World Endurance Championship: Pier-Guidi/Calado, AF Corse / Ferrari
ABB FIA Formula E World Championship: Stoffel Vandoorne / Mercedes
FIM XTrial and TrialGP World Championships: Tony Bou / Honda
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship: Manuel Lettenbichler / KTM
FIM Enel MotoE World Cup: Dominique Aegerter, Dynavolt Intact GP / Energica
FIM Cross-Country World Championship: Sam Sunderland / Gas Gas
Dakar Rally (two wheels): Sam Sunderland / Gas Gas
NLS (Germany): Kuba Giermaziak, Sherer Sport by Phoenix Racing / Audi
Nürburgring 24 Hours: Vanthoor/Vervish/Van der Linde/Frijns, Phoenix Racing / Audi
IMSA WeatherTech Championship: Albuquerque/Taylor, Meyer Shank / Acura
Asian Le Mans Series: Ben/Hanley/Sales, Nielsen Racing / Oreca
Michelin Le Mans Cup: Mattschull/Dillman, Racing Spirit of Leman / Ligier
International GT Open: Hites/Pulcini, Oregon Team / Lamborghini
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup: Dylan Pereira, BWT Lechner Racing / Porsche
Macau GT Cup: Maro Engel / Mercedes
Super GT (Japan): Chiyo/Takaboshi, NDDP Racing (vice-champions) / Nissan
DTM (Germany): Sheldon Van der Linde, Schubert Motorsport / BMW