Silverstone: Michelin qualifying report

MICHELIN IN FRONT WITH PEUGEOT! TYRE CHOICE WILL BE KEY TO THE RACE Michelin took a resounding pole position at Silverstone in England today with the n.7 Peugeot 908 HDI FAP driven by Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian, at the fifth round of the...

MICHELIN IN FRONT WITH PEUGEOT! TYRE CHOICE WILL BE KEY TO THE RACE

Michelin took a resounding pole position at Silverstone in England today with the n.7 Peugeot 908 HDI FAP driven by Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian, at the fifth round of the Le Mans Series - which is also the last in Europe.

The LNT team (Tom Kimber-Smith/Danny Watts) has taken pole position in the LMP2 category and fourth overall, while in GT1 Antonio Garcia and Darren Turner set fastest time for Team Modena.

Matthieu Bonardel - Michelin Competitions Director (cars)

" First of all, we're absolutely delighted by the strong performance of the LNT team, which was running Michelin tyres for the first time here on its LMP2 Zytek.

Most of the LMP1 teams tried out the four tyre options we put at their disposal.

Compared to the other circuits we visit during the year, the hard tyre worked quite well here, considering the huge demands of the circuit. So this is an interesting solution both in terms of performance and endurance.

The soft and medium tyres were obviously a bit quicker, but also suffered more from degradation. On a soft tyre, the teams will not be able to make a tyre last for two stints. We noticed a bit of 'graining' on the medium and soft tyres in cool conditions during free practice, but this phenomenon went away once there was some rubber on the circuit and track temperatures became higher.

In terms of strategy, some teams might not necessarily go for the obvious compromise by using different tyres on the left and right hand sides of the car. One possibility is to start with four medium tyres and then change the tyres only on one side of the car. In other words, rather than taking a softer tyre on the right hand side of the car, they could choose to go slightly harder, doing two stints with the right-hand tyres and just one stint with the left hand tyres.

Nobody went for the harder tyre in qualifying, but this solution isn't out of the question for the race. The time gap between the soft and hard tyres isn't as noticeable as it is on some other circuits : here it's in the region of five or six tenths of a second per lap. So it's not a bad idea to go for harder tyres and do longer stints. Furthermore, it's always difficult to get the most out of the soft tyres in traffic, and it's clearly a good idea to minimise the number and length of the pit stops.

Our new medium 'joker' tyre for the prototypes has been adopted by most of our teams. This new option has accomplished its mission by bringing a lot more performance on all the different types of prototype.

In LMP2, the tyre choices are the more normal ones that we would expect. Those teams that have gone for the soft option will have to keep a close eye on the wear rate, which could be decisive. In the GT class, we could see some teams go for a compromise by using medium tyres on the left-hand side and soft tyres on the right. Our testing results have shown that the cars are well balanced in this configuration. "

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Darren Turner , Tom Kimber-Smith , Danny Watts