As the race day weather at Le Mans looks questionable with a possible wet start to the race Michelin have unveiled their new hybrid ‘slick intermediate’ tyre for LMP1 cars which will enable the teams to continue racing in wet or damp conditions instead of having to switch to full intermediate patterned tyres.
On a drying track intermediate tyres can suffer from high degredation and a lot of time can be lost as the tyres wear out. The new tyre aims to battle that and give a wider operating window enabling the teams to minimise pit stops. The nature of the 8 mile La Sarthe circuit offers a unique challenge as drivers come across different track conditions on track.
Michelin have also faced new challenges with the introduction of the Hybrid technology developed by Audi and Toyota, the Japanese marque TS030 Hybrid petrol/electric prototype is powered through the rear wheels and provides a higher torque than a normal engine. The Audi’s e-tron Quattro technology means the front wheels are powered by electric motors when the recovered energy is used.
The Nissan Deltawing project will also be running on Michelin rubber for the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours meaning the French tyre manufacturer designing smaller tyres for the front of the unique car. During test day the Deltawing covered the equivalent to four stints on a set of single Michelin slick tyre.