Michelin and Porsche: a strong partnership for top performance
Michelin and Porsche have enjoyed a successful partnership in both motorsports and series production vehicles for decades, with the French premium brand and the German sports car manufacturer working hand-in-hand since 1961. It is a partnership that has repeatedly produced sensational supercars – in 2002, for example, Michelin brought out a made-to-measure tyre designed specifically for the Porsche Carrera GT. And of course the Porsche 918 Spyder also runs solely on MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with the N0 marking. This is a tyre that was developed exclusively for the 887 bhp hybrid that in 2015 set up a new lap record for series production sports cars fitted with road-legal tyres on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of 6 min 57 sec.
Lots of other Porsche models currently benefit from the high-performance tyres from Michelin. Besides the Porsche Macan and Cayenne (MICHELIN Latitude Sport 3) SUVs, they include the Porsche Panamera (MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4). The special limited edition Porsche 911 R (991) model and the two high-performance 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS sports cars all run on MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Incorporating bi-compound technology and Track longevity 2.0® technology, this road-legal sports tyre offers outstanding grip on dry surfaces combined with further improved handling in the wet. In addition, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 features impeccable endurance characteristics and is ideally suited to tough racetrack driving. For the 991 and the 718 Boxster/Cayman with the respective standard engine, the tyre partner of Porsche now includes the MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 S in its current product range.
For the 911 series, the Panamera, the 718 Boxster-Modelle, in addition to the SUVs from Porsche, the French premium brand also offers the appropriate winter tyres such as the MICHELIN Pilot Alpin PA4 and MICHELIN Latitude Alpin LA2, plus the new Pilot Alpin 5 SUV for the Cayenne E3. All of them have Porsche‘s official approval.
Winning partnership at Le Mans and in FIA World Endurance Championship
Michelin traditionally uses its successful involvement in motorsports to develop and test new technologies for its standard production tyres – longevity, energy efficiency and versatility are as important in racing as they are in day-to-day road traffic.
Together with Porsche, Michelin has celebrated numerous prestigious racing victories and championships for decades. Between 2015 and 2017, the two premium brands won both the manufacturers’ world championship title and the drivers‘ championship title in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) three times in a row with the groundbreaking 919 Hybrid. Porsche recently demonstrated the potential inherent in the temporary all-wheel drive Class 1 prototype, which is powered by a turbocharged 2-litre V4 petrol engine and two hybrid systems, at the end of June 2018: Timo Bernhard drove the 1,000 bhp 919 Hybrid Evo on special Michelin tyres in 5 minutes 19.55 seconds to a new lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Earlier in spring, Neel Jani drove the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo around the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in 1 minute 41.770 seconds, braking the lap record previously set by Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most important links between Michelin and Porsche. Since 1998, when a Porsche GT1 was the first to cross the finishing line, the tyre manufacturer has remained unbeaten in Le Mans. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, three more successes were added with the 919 Hybrid. The 19 overall victories the two partners have achieved on the “circuit des 24 heures“ have been embellished with numerous class victories – as was the case again in 2018 – Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor secured first place in the GTE Pro category, driving a Porsche 911 RSR, with the sister car driven by Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki and Gianmaria Bruni finishing in second place. In the GTE Am, the 911 RSR from Dempsey-Proton Racing fitted with Michelin tyres also won Le Mans.
Porsche and Michelin – a global success story spanning decades
At the no less legendary Nürburgring 24 Hours, Michelin and Porsche have collected a total of seven joint victories since 2000. In those early days, it was Bernd Mayländer, Michael Bartels, Uwe Alzen and Altfrid Heger, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R, who won the Eifel marathon. Then in 2006, it was Manthey Racing who reigned supreme in the “Green Hell“. Until 2011, the team driving Porsche 911 GT3 R and GT3 RSR vehicles fitted with Michelin tyres picked up five victories, with four in succession no less. In 2018, a Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by the Manthey Racing team triumphed once again running on Michelin tyres – Nick Tandy, Frédéric Makowiecki, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet took first place on the winner’s podium.
This is also where Michelin and Porsche found themselves in 2010, having proven their commitment to sustainable motorsports and the conservation of resources with an exceptional project – the 911 GT3 R Hybrid fitted with an energy recovery system and a flywheel for energy storage led the field for over nine hours during the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, simply because the extremely economical Hybrid Porsche was able to complete an extra lap between two fuel stops compared to its conventionally engined competitors. The Michelin racing tyres also demonstrated their performance and reliability most impressively on the longer stints.
In the North American Endurance Cup, the Porsche GT Team competing with the Porsche 911 RSR fitted with Michelin tyres picked up no less then two championship titles in the 2017 season – the NAEC cup for teams and the drivers’ title for Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in the GTLM category. This North American race series, which counts towards the IMSA SportsCar Championship, is regarded as one of the toughest endurance disciplines in worldwide GT racing.
In the world’s most successful one-make championship series, the national Porsche Carrera Cups and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which is staged as part of the supporting programme for Formula 1 events, all the teams have been using Michelin tyres since 2002.
And in Formula 1 itself, of course, Porsche and Michelin have celebrated numerous victories – the ultimate highlight was winning the World Constructor’s Championships with the McLaren TAG Porsche back in 1984 and 1985, accompanied by drivers’ titles for Niki Lauda and Alain Prost.