Developing road-worthy race tire technology

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Michelin’s Pilot Sport tire survived a tough test at this year’s Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E race. The schedule effectively had to be adjusted by race control after unexpected heavy showers caused big puddles to form, making the track unsafe.

The morning’s first free practice session was canceled and the second was postponed until 10:15am to give marshals time to sweep aside excess standing water. Two qualifying sessions then followed at 11:25am.

Thanks to its exceptional versatility – despite tipping the scales at 9kg lighter per set of four – the tire performed consistently.

“The new Michelin Pilot Sport was treated to a cocktail of both wet and dry conditions for its debut but it rose to the occasion, showcasing the versatility,” said Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E tire program.

“While our previous-generation tire increased the range potential of the cars by one lap thanks to a significant reduction in its rolling resistance, our engineers have now pulled off the feat of bringing down the weight of our third-generation Formula E tire by more than 2kg, even though the Gen2 cars are both heavier and more powerful.

“Pre-season testing suggested that we had made good progress but we’re obviously keen to prove that in a racing environment, and that’s what we succeeded in doing in Saudi Arabia. We will now continue to analyze the performance of our new tire throughout the season because our aim is to carry over these technological advances to our road tires in the shortest timeframe possible.”

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the ground-breaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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