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Audi sticks with Michelin – which is good for Michelin road tyres

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 00:00:00 -0700

Audi choose Michelin for 2012 races

Audi are to stay with tyre maker Michelin and this year’s Le Mans 24hr cars will be shod with Michelin tyres.

Have you ever wondered why car race teams choose one tyre maker over another? Well, in F1 it’s because they don’t have a choice, but elsewhere it’s different – they can choose. But if like us you thought the most successful teams picked the tyre maker who paid them the most, apparently you’d be wrong – they actually pay.

In what is essentially a bit of marketing flim-flam, Michelin has sent us a press release about Audi’s decision to run their race cars on Michelin tyres – and a video of Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen giving us the benefit of their wisdom – but actually there is a serious point behind the marketing exercise.

Because unlike F1, endurance car tyres are closely related to road car tyres, so what Michelin are saying is that if their tyres are good enough to blat an Audi round Le Mans – which they did last year for 750kms on one set of tyres – they’re brilliant for a road car. And we wouldn’t disagree.

But what’s also a big plus is that as the tyres Michelin supply Audi are closely related in size and performance characteristics to normal road tyres, the data they get from Audi will help them develop even better road tyres in the process. Which sounds like a good thing.

If you want to see Audi’s blatting round Le Mans on tyres closely related to your Audi’s (or any other car on Michelin tyres, for that matter) Audi will be fielding field two R18 e-tron quattro’s and two R18 ultra prototypes at Le Mans this year, with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, and Benoît Tréluyer in one hybrid and Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Allan McNish in the other.

One R18 Ultra will be piloted by Loïc Duval, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas with the other by Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Rockenfeller.

And all on tyres just like yours. Sort of.

By Cars UK