Le Mans 2017: Toyota/Michelin grabs history-making pole!

The final evening of Le Mans qualifying turned out to be a landmark occasion with drivers setting new qualifying records up and down the classes. Toyota/Michelin’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 TS050-Hybrid, Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin) stunned his rivals early on with a 3m14.791. That not only took the wind out of Porsche’s sails but also goes down as the fastest ever lap in Le Mans history. There were record performances, too, in LMP2 (N°26 Oreca), LM GTE Pro (N°97 Aston Martin) and LM GTE Am (N°50 Chevrolet/Michelin).


Toyota/Michelin claims Spa 1-2

Toyota Gazoo Racing came first and second at the 2017 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with its N°8 (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima) and N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi) Michelin-equipped TS050 Hybrids. There was one-two glory, too, for Ferrari/Michelin with its N°71 and N°51 488 GTEs in LM GTE Pro.


Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota/Michelin dominates Test Day

The top three places at Sunday’s official pre-Le Mans Test Day were monopolised by Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin prototypes. Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi (N°7 Toyota) bettered the 2016 pole-winning time, while Michelin runners also dominated the LM GTE Pro class with Corvette and Porsche.

Staged just two weeks ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the pre-race Test Day is the teams’ sole opportunity to lap the 13.629km French circuit outside of race week itself. The two four-hour sessions organised by the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) were therefore eagerly employed by the 60 cars invited to take part in the classic’s 85th running and, together, they totalled 59,681km!

The Test Day has several purposes, including a chance for the year’s Le Mans rookies to complete at least 10 laps to qualify for the race, plus work on set-up for next week’s practice sessions and the race itself. Meanwhile, Michelin uses it to sign off its latest-specification tyres which are designed to deliver a winning cocktail of performance, durability and consistency around this highly specific track.

Toyota, which has entered three cars for the first time this year, dealt a psychological blow by placing all its Michelin-shod TS050 Hybrids at the top of the order, with Kamui Kobayashi posting the day’s fastest effort (3m18.132s) in the N°7 car. That’s 1.601s quicker than last year’s best qualifying time and the first time the threshold of 3m20s has been beaten at the Test Day.

The two Michelin-equipped Porsche 919 Hybrids finished more than three seconds adrift (led by Earl Bamber’s 3m21.512s), but the 18-time Le Mans winning team was most probably focusing on its race set-up.


In LM GTE Pro, the seven fastest cars – of four different makes – were blanketed by less than a second. The benchmark was established by the N°64 Corvette C7.R/Michelin, chased by the two new factory Porsche 911 RSR/Michelins. The other Corvette, the two factory Aston Martins and the N°71 Ferrari/Michelin were the other top-seven entries. Like Porsche in LM P1, last year’s class-winning Ford GT/Michelins ended up three seconds short of the best effort.

The LM GTE Am battle saw the N°98 factory Aston Martin beat Larbre Compétition’s Corvette/Michelin by 52-thousandths, while the eight best-placed cars – again representing four different manufacturers – were covered by a single second. This class promises to provide a particularly exciting battle between tyre firms and carmakers this year.

Nelson Panciatici (N°35 Alpine A470) stunned his LM P2 rivals with a time of 3m28.146s, which is less than a second short of the fastest overall race lap posted by an Audi R10 TDI around the same track in 2007!

Action will resume next Wednesday (June 14) with the first free practice session ahead of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.


MotoGP: Rossi returns to winning ways at Assen

Sunday’s Motul Assen TT, round eight of the 2017 MotoGPTM World Championship, was won by Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Second and third were fellow Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Prama Racing) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 2017: Michelin’s 20th Le Mans consecutive victory in numbers

Michelin won the Le Mans 24 Hours for the 20th straight year and for the third year in a row in association with Porsche after posting the fastest ever lap of the French circuit with Toyota. 


MotoGP: Assen’s ‘Cathedral of Speed’ for the Dutch GP

Assen is the only circuit to have been visited by the MotoGPTM World Championship every season since 1949. The Motul TT Assen is round eight of the 2017 calendar. 

24H du Mans

Porsche LMP Team hands Michelin its 20th straight Le Mans win!

The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours saw Michelin extend its uninterrupted winning record in La Sarthe to 20 outright victories since 1998. It was assisted in its quest by the dogged determination of the N°2 Porsche crew (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) who fought back from an early technical issue to scoop the coveted trophy with an hour to go. Along with the N°8 Toyota, which finished back in ninth spot, the German machine was one of only two LMP1-H prototypes to reach the flag after disaster struck the class’s other three factory entries. Michelin’s successful weekend was compounded by a one-two-three finish in LM GTE Am in association with Ferrari, plus a double podium in LM GTE Pro.

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