When the 2018/2019 FIA Formula E Championship kicks off in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 18, it will mark the beginning of a fresh era featuring a new-generation of all-electric cars and equally new Michelin tires. To prepare for the big day, teams gathered in Spain last week for a four-day pre-season dress rehearsal.
After two weeks of private testing, the 11 teams registered for the next season were given the opportunity to fine-tune their respective cars last week at an official test in Spain. They were also able to familiarize themselves with the new Michelin Pilot Sport.
Mixed-bag weather provided them with a chance to evaluate the new tire in a variety of conditions, including a wet track on the last day.
“Since the championship’s launch in 2014, we have produced three different tires for Formula E,” said Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s FIA Formula E program. “The new Michelin Pilot Sport is the fruit of extensive research work and careful analysis of the data we have collected over the championship’s four previous campaigns. Both here in Valencia and in private testing, everyone has noted the progress our new tire has made on all fronts. With the series on the verge of taking an important step forward, with the introduction of more powerful cars with a longer driving range, we are particularly pleased with the innovations the Pilot Sport packs.”
The new Michelin Pilot Sport pushes out the envelope of racing tire thinking, while at the same time carrying over the features that forged the reputation of its predecessors.
Reducing the amount of raw materials that go into each tire has been a priority for the team at Michelin. Compared with the first-generation Formula E tire, the front Pilot Sport tips the scales at 2kg less, while the rear tire is 2.5kg lighter.
Given that tires have a direct impact on the range of the vehicle, work on the next-gen tire focused on the construction and rolling resistance.
Because of its interior diameter and grooved tread pattern, the Michelin Pilot Sport could easily be mistaken for a road tire. Michelin sees motorsport as a laboratory and uses the data it collects in the different motorsport championships to develop new technologies that will ultimately be carried over to its road car tires.