A Strong Partnership for Top Performance: Porsche and Michelin
Since 2002, Porsche and Michelin have been working together in a close and successful partnership, ranging from production model tyres to the motor sports activities of the sports car manufacturer. For ten years, numerous national Porsche Carrera Cups and the international Porsche Supercup have been run on Michelin tyres. The works drivers and works-supported teams of the company continue to place their trust in the reliable and successful high-tech products from Michelin for the most important endurance race series including the new World Endurance Championship (WEC), the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and the VLN endurance racing championship at the Nürburgring. At the same time, Porsche is also an important Michelin partner in the development of high-performance tyres. The French premium brand products have been approved for many of the famous manufacturer's production models.
The Porsche and Michelin partnership can look back at an impressive list of achievements in motor sports. In 1984, McLaren won the Formula 1 title with a TAG Turbo engine designed by Porsche – on Michelin tyres. Niki Lauda became World Champion, a half point ahead of his team colleague Alain Prost. The team celebrated twelve Grand Prix victories during that season.
Porsche race cars were also unbeaten on 16 occasions at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours. The last Le Mans overall victory to date was won by Porsche together with Michelin in 1998, with Allan McNish, Laurent Aiello and Stéphane Ortelli taking the long-distance classic title in the Porsche GT1.
The Porsche and Michelin formula continued its success with class victories in the years that followed. For example, the 911 GT3 RSR won the GT2 prize in 2004, 2007 and 2010 on French racing tyres. The Sports Car manufacturer returned to Le Mans in 2008 with the open RS Spyder and promptly took first place in the LMP2 class together with Michelin. Porsche remained unbeaten at le Mans in the following year, winning the Michelin Green X Challenge for good measure, an environmental prize awarded to the race participant with the highest energy efficiency. This title was defended in 2010 by the Felbermayr-Proton team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by the works drivers Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Wolf Henzler.
The two partners have demonstrated their commitment to "green motor sports" with an exceptional project: the 911 GT3 R Hybrid with its energy recovery system and flywheel store was one of the highlights of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in 2010, leading the race for more than nine hours. The extremely economic Porsche hybrid was able to complete one lap more than the conventional motorised opponents between refuelling stops – the Michelin racing tyres easily withstood the longer distance.
The two premium brands can look back at a remarkable joint record for the 24-hour festival at the Nürburgring. In 2000, a Porsche won the legendary Eifel marathon on Michelin tyres when Bernd Mayländer, Michael Bartels, Uwe Alzen and Altfrid Heger crossed the line first in the Koblenz Porsche Centre's 996 GT3 R. Manthey Racing took over the regency on the famous course in 2006: by 2011, the team had chalked up five victories in Porsche vehicles with Michelin tyres.
This close and successful cooperation in motor sport has also proved itself as the basis for the development of standard production tyres. Numerous Sports Car models of Porsche roll off the production line on Michelin tyres such as the Michelin Pilot Super Sport or the high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup+, one of the fastest racing tyres with street approval. They profit from cutting-edge technologies such as the extremely robust TWARON high-performance fibre for the belt ply – which provides the tread with optimised stability, even at high speeds – or the innovative dual tread compound that combines the advantages of wet and dry weather tyres using different compounds for the inside and outside tread.