On September 4th, the Porsche 918 Spyder smashed the Nürburgring lap record for a production car with a time of 6 minutes, 57 seconds. Michelin were a key part of the record-breaking team and this is their story.
The team worked for months creating a tyre which could provide both grip and stability as the temperatures rises beyond 100 degrees Celsius inside the tyre, and more than 200 degrees at the surface contact patch.
..around the Nürburgring temperatures rise to more than 200 degrees Celsius at the surface contact patch.
The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 was built exclusively for the 918 Spyder with a specific tread pattern, large external shoulder to maximise performance in dry handling and a specific compound to reduce rolling resistance and maximise lateral grip.
Olivier Bouhet, the man responsible for the Pilot Sport Cup 2, describes the unique challenges of a Nürburgring lap – “On this track we need to design a really well balanced tyre, because it’s not only a matter of grip and maximum traction it’s also a matter of stiffness because at the Nürburgring we have parts where the vehicle is running at very high speeds, so we really need stability.”
The Cup 2 tyre was designed to operate over a wide temperature range, remaining predictable throughout the heating and cooling cycles encountered around the long 12.93 mile Nordschleife lap.
The record lap set by Marc Lieb, was 14 seconds faster than the previous record and the first production car (with global road homologation) to dip below the magical seven minute barrier.
Most of us won’t be able to buy a 918 Spyder, but Michelin have already homologated the tyre for the 991 GT3, Mercedes SLS Black Series and Ferrari 458 Speciale.
As a track day tyre it will be made available as a replacement fitment for the BMW CSL, Audi R8 and supercars from Koenigseeg and Gumpert by the middle of next year, with sizes for smaller track day cars following in the future.