Michelin Green X Challenge Lime Rock

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Silvia Mammone, Michelin motorsports manager, sees the escalating standards for fuel economy as a great opportunity for sports-car endurance racing and the Michelin Green X Challenge.

“Significant changes are in store for nearly every aspect of vehicle design, architecture, powertrain, energy sources, materials, electronics and tires,” said Mammone. “Motorsports competitions like the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), which permits relevant technologies, will be the proving grounds for accelerating the development of many of these new technologies.”

The Michelin Green X Challenge is a key motorsports benchmark to track gains in performance, improvements in fuel efficiency and reductions in emissions at all ALMS races.

“Here in the ALMS and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, innovative technologies applied already include lightweight materials, turbocharging, clean diesels, direct injection, hybrid technology, flywheel hybrids and electric wheel motors. There is much more in the pipelines, as manufacturers push to meet these new demands,” said Mammone. This past week, Porsche announced plans to return to Prototype competition at Le Mans, noting the decision was driven in part by the opportunity to integrate its hybrid technology.

Now in its third full season of competition, the Michelin Green X Challenge — which was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and SAE International — recognizes the cars that go farthest and fastest with the smallest environmental footprint at each event.

The global program is now an established part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and every European, Asian and American Le Mans Series event.

Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota are all competing this year in either the ALMS or the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ten manufacturers — including Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Honda, Peugeot and Porsche — have claimed at least one race victory in the Michelin Green X Challenge.

At the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race-winning Audi R18 TDI turbo-diesel prototype used only nine sets of Michelin tires for the entire race, compared to eleven sets in 2010 and XX sets just X years ago. Since 2008, Michelin and its technical partner teams at Le Mans have reduced tire usage by nearly 25 percent.  

“Two specific technologies that we developed in competition at Le Mans and in the ALMS have now made their way into our latest street tire, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tire,” said Mammone. “Thanks to these technologies and our continuing innovation, we lead the industry with our 30,000-mile tread-wear guarantee to consumers of these ultra-high-performance tires. Making tires last longer without compromising performance provides additional value to consumers and reduces the natural resources and energy used to produce and distribute tires.”

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