24H du Mans

Toyota/Michelin tastes Le Mans glory at last!

Toyota will be partying hard tonight after winning the famous Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since its debut attempt at the world famous race in 1985. This time around, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and the team’s star recruit Fernando Alonso delivered the necessary speed and reliability in their N°8 TS050-Hybrid/Michelin to spearhead a one-two finish for the Japanese carmaker, ahead of the N°7 sister car (+2 laps). Porsche/Michelin celebrated no-nonsense wins in LM GTE Pro and Am, while G-Drive Racing was unassailable in LMP2 with the N°26 Oreca07. True to its ‘Winning performance to the line’ claim, Michelin secured its 21st straight Le Mans success.

24H du Mans

H-7: Toyota still on target for Le Mans glory

The two Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050-Hybrids are running smoothly at the top of the order at Le Mans after 17 hours, with the N°8 car of Alonso/Buemi/Nakajima currently in front. The Japanese team has been running a quadruple stint strategy since the start. Porsche GT Team/Michelin’s N°92 and N°91 911 RSRs continue to set the pace in LM GTE Pro, and the German make leads the Am class, too. The N°26 G-Drive Oreca07 continues to stand out as the car to beat in LMP2. 

24H du Mans

Le Mans 2018: Toyota on pole, Michelin runners on top in every class!

Thursday’s qualifying sessions produced little drama, although the overnight pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima (Toyota 8, Alonso/Nakajima/Buemi) succeeded in lowering the benchmark to 3m15.377s in Q3 to make sure of the coveted prize. The two Michelin-equipped TS050-Hybrids will consequently monopolise the front row for the start of the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday. Porsche/Michelin continued its domination of the LM GTE Pro and Am timesheets thanks to the N°91 and N°88 911 RSRs respectively, while Idec Sport’s N°48 Oreca07 LMP2 prototype made it a clean sweep for Michelin partners in all four classes!

The predictions of a wet evening failed to materialise and Q2 took place in entirely dry conditions. It is difficult to judge whether any of the teams had plans to make an early bid to improve their grid positions, however, since the session was disrupted by a high number of yellow flag incidents, slow zones and a 20-minute red flag interruption a quarter-of-an-hour into the session.

The two-hour run was eventually shortened to just 90 minutes when the red flag was shown a second time.

To counter the frustration of those teams who wanted to work through their programmes, Race Control decided to start Q3 half-an-hour ahead of schedule, at 9:30pm local time instead of 10pm.

As a consequence, the conditions were still reasonably bright when the third qualifying session kicked off and Toyota Gazoo Racing took advantage of the situation to send out its Japanese drivers Kazuki Katayama and Kamui Kobayashi to see what they could do in their respective LMP1-Hybrid prototypes. The former was immediately on the pace and successfully shaved more than three seconds off his overnight pole time with a lap of 3m15.377s. Kobayashi also improved but ended up exactly two seconds short of his team-mate. He can still take satisfaction, though, from the fact that his record-breaking effort of 2017 went unbeaten!

Once that initial flourish in Q3 was over, the Japanese team resumed its preparations for the weekend’s race and the arrival of wet weather put paid to any further attempts to improve. The N°1 Rebellion Racing/Michelin and N°17 SMP Racing/Michelin will share Saturday’s second row.


Meanwhile, none of Porsche’s rivals succeeded in threatening the German make’s domination in LM GTE. The N°91 and N°92 911 RSR/Michelins held on to their lead in the Pro class, chased by the N°66 Ford GT/Michelin (3rd) and the N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO (4th). The time posted by Gianmaria Bruni (3m47.504s) on Wednesday evening in the N°91 Porsche (Bruni/Lietz/Makowiecki) established a new record for the category.


In the Am standings, Dempsey-Proton Racing successfully defended the advantage earned last night by its N°88 car (Cairoli/Al Qubaisi/Roda), but the N°86 911 RSR (Gulf racing) managed to steal second spot from the N°77 car. The best non-Porsche at the chequered flag was the N°54 Ferrari which missed out on a footing on the podium by just 26-thousandths of a second.


In LMP2, the Idec Sport/Michelin prototype (N°48, Chatin/Lafargue/Rojas) was toppled from the class lead by the similar N°28 car (TDS Racing) shortly before the rain shower. The TDS car later had its lap times scrubbed, however, as a penalty for failing to stop as instructed at the pit lane scrutineering tent and Idec Sport recovered its prize. Michelin runners ended up filling three of the class’s top five positions thanks to the Idec Sport car, the N°31 Dragonspeed Oreca07 and the N°23 Panis Barthez Compétition Ligier.

Next on the programme is a so-called rest day on Friday, featuring the immensely popular Drivers’ Parade in Le Mans city centre. The 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours is then scheduled to start at 3pm CEST on Saturday. The race will be flagged away by tennis superstar Rafael Nadal, winner of last weekend’s French Open in Paris last Sunday.


MotoGP™: Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team/Michelin) takes Sepang spoils

The Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, penultimate round of the 2018 MotoGPTM Word Championship, was won by Marc Márquez. The recently-crowned champion was joined on the Sepang podium by Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR/Michelin) and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3/Michelin). The result settled the Manufacturers’ title chase in favour of Honda.  


MotoGP™ - Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix - Racecard

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix and our tyre allocation.Clic on the photo to donwload the racecard


Loeb, Citroën and Michelin return to their winning ways!

More than five years after his most recent WRC success, Sébastien Loeb (Citroën/Michelin) notched up the 79th world class win of his career this weekend in Spain. The Frenchman was chased over the line by Sébastien Ogier, who has recovered the championship lead, and the latter’s Ford/Michelin team-mate Elfyn Evans. The Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles will be settled in Australia.  


MotoGP™: Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP/Michelin) and Yamaha return to winning ways in Australia

The thrilling 2018 Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Round 17 of the MotoGPTM World Championship) was won by Maverick Viñales. The Yamaha rider was joined on the Phillip Island podium by Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki Team/Michelin) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team/Michelin) who made it three different bikemakers in the top three.  

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