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Michelin to remain Formula E tire supplier until 2019

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Michelin has won the tender to supply tires to the FIA Formula E championship for the next four seasons.

Following the latest meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, France, it was confirmed that Michelin’s role as the championship’s tire supplier would continue beyond the end of season two.

After winning the race to supply Formula E tires back in 2013, Michelin enjoyed a trouble-free inaugural 2014/2015 season with its all-weather compound design.

Now, its relationship with the electric championship will continue to the end of season five in the summer of 2019.

“We are delighted to have been selected by the FIA once again and to be able to continue our involvement in this competition which Michelin helped to found,” Michelin motorsport director Pascal Couasnon said.

“Formula E is a superb laboratory to foster innovation in the field of durable mobility in cities and built-up areas and Michelin is actively exploiting this golden opportunity.

“Indeed, the tire we designed for Formula E – the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV – is revolutionary in the world of motor racing and has been acclaimed by all the championship’s drivers and teams.”

Earlier this week, Michelin also confirmed that it would continue to supply tires to the rebranded Formula Renault 3.5 championship in 2016 after agreeing a deal with new backers RPM Racing.

“I would like to underline our determination to contribute to the continuation and development of FR3.5 by RPM Racing,” Michelin customer competition director Philippe Mussati said.

“Our support comes after 17 years of fruitful co-operation within the framework of the World Series by Renault and we naturally showed an interest when Jaime Alguersuari informed us of his ambitions for Formula 3.5.

“Michelin believes it is important to remain a key player in the world of single-seater racing which is why we jumped at the opportunity to carry on supporting a long-time partner like RPM Racing in a series that has provided Formula 1 with so many top drivers.”

Michelin is also currently bidding to return to Formula 1 in 2017 as the series’ sole tire supplier, going head-to-head with Pirelli, which has worked with the sport since 2011.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.