Michelin and Porsche: a strong partnership for top performance
Michelin and Porsche have enjoyed a successful partnership in both motorsport and series production vehicles for decades. The French premium brand and the German sports car manufacturer have been working hand-in-hand since 1961. The cooperation has repeatedly culminated in sensational super aports cars: In 2002, for example, Michelin designed a made-to-measure tyre specifically for the Porsche Carrera GT. The Porsche 918 Spyder runs exclusively on MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres with the N0 marking too. Designed specifically for the 887 hp hybrid athlete, the tyre, which was mass-produced for sports cars with road approved tyres, set a new lap record of 6:57 minutes on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 2015.
Many more Porsche models are currently benefiting from Michelin's high-performance tyres. These include the Porsche Macan and Cayenne (MICHELIN Latitude Sport 3) SUVs,as well as the Porsche Panamera (MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4). The special limited edition model, Porsche 911 R (991), and the two high-performance sports cars, 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS, run on MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Incorporating bi-compound technology and Track longevity 2.0® technology, this road approved sports tyre offers outstanding grip on dry surface wit further improved wet handling. In addition, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport Cup 2 impresses with outstanding endurance and even enables intensive race track use. 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 models, as well as for the Porsche's SUVs, the French premium brand offers the suitbale winter tyres such as the MICHELIN Pilot Alpin PA4 and MICHELIN Latitude Alpin LA2, or the new Pilot Alpin 5 SUV for the Cayenne E3 too. All of them have been officially approved by Porsche.
Winning partnership at Le Mans and in FIA World Endurance Championship
Michelin traditionally uses its successful motorsport involvement to develop and test new technologies for series products - durability, energy efficiency and versatility are just as important in racing as in everyday traffic.
Along with Porsche, Michelin has celebrated numerous prestigious racing victories and championships for decades. Between 2015 and 2017, for example, 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: imo Bernhard drove the over 1,000 hp 919 Hybrid Evo on special Michelin tyres in 5m 19.55s to a new absolute lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. Earlier in spring, Neel Jani had already beaten the then best lap time set by Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton in Spa-Francorchamps with the Porsche in 1m 41.770s.
The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most important links between Michelin and Porsche. Since 1998, when a Porsche GT1 crossed the finish line first, the tyre manufacturer has remained unbeaten at Le Mans. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, three more victories were added with the 919 Hybrid. The 19 overall victories the two partners have achieved on the “circuit des 24 heures“ have been enhanced with numerous class victories – as in 2018 – Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor secured first place in the GTE Pro category, driving a Porsche 911 RSR, whilst the sister car driven by Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki and Gianmaria Bruni fcrossed the finish line on the second place. In the GTE Am, the 911 RSR from Dempsey-Proton Racing's 911 RSR fitted with Michelin tyres claimed the Le Mans triumph too.
Porsche and Michelin – a global success story spanning decades
At the equally legendary Nürburgring 24 Hours, Michelin and Porsche have shared seven joint victories since 2000. At that time Bernd Mayländer, Michael Bartels, Uwe Alzen and Altfrid Heger, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R, won the Eifel marathon. In 2006, the Manthey Racing took over the reigns in the “Green Hell“. Until 2011, the team took five victories on its Michelin-soled Porsche 911 GT3 R and GT3 RSR, four of them in a row. In 2018, a Michelin-equipped Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by the Manthey Racing team triumphed once again – Nick Tandy, Frédéric Makowiecki, Richard Lietz and Patrick Pilet reached the top of the podium.
In 2010, Michelin and Porsche demonstrated their commitment to sustainable motorsport and resource conservation with an exceptional project at the same venue: the 911 GT3 R Hybrid with energy recovery system and flywheel accumulator led the field for more than nine hours at the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring, as the particularly economical hybrid Porsche was able to complete one more lap between two refuelling stops than its conventionally powered competitors. Michelin's racing tyres impressively demonstrated their performance and reliability even on the longer stints.
In the North American Endurance Cup, the Porsche GT Team captured two titles with the Michelin-tyred Porsche 911 RSRin the season of 2017: the NAEC cup for teams and the drivers’ title for Patrick Pilet and Dirk Werner in the GTLM category. This North American race series, as a part of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, is considered as one of the toughest endurance disciplines in global GT racing.
In the world’s most successful one-makec cup 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.
In Formula 1, Porsche and Michelin have celebrated numerous victories too. The ultimate highlight was the McLaren-TAG-Porsche winning manufacturer's world championshi back in 1984 and 1985, accompanied by drivers’ titles for Niki Lauda and Alain Prost.