Silverstone: Michelin race report

Five out of five for Michelin ! Michelin has sealed its fifth win of the Le Mans Series this year, with Peugeot Sport at the Silverstone circuit. The winning crew of Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian completed the 1000 kilometres in 195 laps, ...

Five out of five for Michelin !

Michelin has sealed its fifth win of the Le Mans Series this year, with Peugeot Sport at the Silverstone circuit. The winning crew of Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian completed the 1000 kilometres in 195 laps, followed by the Pescarolo of Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Bouillon.

The LMP2 category was won by the Team Barazi Epsilon Zytek of Barazi/Vergers/Ojjeh, followed by another Zytek of the LNT team - driven by Tom Kimber-Smith and Danny Watts - which was using Michelin tyres for the first time.

In GT1, the Oreca team of Stephane Ortelli and Soheil Ayari set pole position and claimed victory, as was also the case on the last round in Spa.

Matthieu Bonardel - Michelin Competitions Director (cars)

" We soon realised after the start that the race conditions were very difficult. The wind was blowing a lot of dust onto the track, which made the cars slide and lose grip. Once the wind died down and the track had some rubber on it, we could use softer tyres on the LMP1 and LMP2 cars.

In LMP1, none of our cars chose the hard tyre, preferring instead to opt for a medium compound. Our teams were able to make a lot of interesting comparisons during the race, as our new medium 'joker' tyres were a lot quicker during the race - to the tune of about a second a lap - but weren't able to last for more than one stint, while the standard medium tyre wasn't as quick but could go for two stints. That made deciding on the right tyre, at the right moment, a really tough task for all our teams. One well-balanced solution, as tested by Charouz, was to use the medium tyre and to change the right-hand pair of tyres just once every two pit stops.

Unfortunately, the n.8 Peugeot of Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin fell victim to a left-rear puncture after running over some debris on the track.

In LMP2, the teams had no problem in making tyres last for double stints - whether they were on medium tyres at the start or soft tyres after a few hours of racing.

In the GT classes, most of the teams opted for a compromise by running medium tyres on the left-hand side of the car and soft tyres on the right-hand side. Some teams, such as Oreca, went for mediums all round but were not quite able to double-stint with them.

Generally speaking, Silverstone's aggressive surface, coupled with difficult race conditions, meant that we were not able to double-stint with the tyres as much as we had hoped. Having said that, we were still very pleased to see that the LNT Zytek, running on our tyres for the first time, set pole position and finished second in its class. "

Silverstone remains a real technical challenge for tyre manufacturers involved in endurance racing. This allows us to improve year on year, as we seek the best compromise. "

Marc Gene - Peugeot Sport driver

" We used the soft tyres between stints and I was very impressed with their performance. They were fantastic, particularly on what is quite an agressive circuit. A soft tyre choice was a bit of a gamble on this circuit, but the Michelin tyres gave us good grip without excessive wear. As more rubber was laid on the track the car became easier to drive, but conditions were still difficult with plenty of wind. I have to say that Michelin supplied us with some very good options for this race. "

Stephane Ortelli - Team Oreca driver

" We tried to go as far on the tyres as we possibly could. We weren't quite able to double the stints,but we did find a very good level of performance from our Michelin tyres. This helped me to carry out a really good out-braking manouevre on the Aston Martin, just 25 minutes from the end of the race, where I took the lead. The performance of our tyres was great from start to finish and I am very happy. "

The Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge

Michelin has created the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge for the 2007 season to reward the teams with the most efficient energy consumption in each of the six rounds of the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

This challenge is based on a specially calculated formula that goes under the name of the Performance Energy Index (IP), and is based on the weight, fuel consumption and the average speed of each of the team's cars during the race.

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Emmanuel Collard , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , Soheil Ayari , Tom Kimber-Smith , Danny Watts