Formula E tyres to feature RFID

Michelin says it is working on a ‘communicating’ tyre for the Spark-Renault SRT_01E car that will be used by all teams during the first year of the new FIA Formula E Championship. The announcement was made during a demonstration run by the electric single-seat race car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, USA.

The tyre maker is an official partner of and supplier to the FIA Formula E Championship, the first FIA-sanctioned world championship for electric single-seat race cars. The tyre Michelin is now developing will be used during the series’ first two seasons. The innovations Michelin has incorporated into the tyre include a first for an international single-seat racing championship – the use of an electronic tag within the tyre. This RFID chip will enable the tyres provided to competitors to be identified individually.

“These RFID chips will be embedded in the tyres’ sidewalls to ensure their traceability, from their production right through to their return to the factory after use at the racetrack,” explains Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin Motorsport’s four-wheel programmes. “Traditionally, this information is collected using an optical bar code reader. These new electronic tags open up all sorts of possibilities in addition to simply identifying individual tyres. They will be able to collect data relating to running conditions including temperature and pressure sensors. It will be possible to record and access information covering the tyre’s entire lifecycle.”

Embedding RFID chips in racing tyres facilitates the more straightforward introduction of new regulations by motorsport organisers seeking to cap the number of tyres competitors may use in their competitions, leading to knock-on benefits in terms of cost savings and extended tyre life.

To optimise energy efficiency and foster the transfer of technology from motorsport to road tyres, the tyres being developed feature an interior diameter of 18 inches. The FIA Formula E Championship will be the first international single-seat racing championship to feature tyres of this size. And with a view to favouring the transfer of technology between racing and road tyres, the tyres feature a tread pattern designed for safe performance in both wet and dry conditions. Special attention has also been paid to longevity, since drivers will only be permitted to use one set of tyres per race meeting including free practice, qualifying and the race. Michelin says that in keeping with its Total Performance philosophy, this longevity has been obtained with no detriment to lap-time performance.

Development of Michelin’s Formula E tyre will continue until the competition’s first race in Beijing, China, on 13 September 2014.

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