Nürburgring 6h: All-Michelin podium in LM GTE Pro
Dunlop is by no means the only tyre maker present in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), and following the weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring race in Germany, Michelin reports that its partners were able to “benefit fully from the performance potential of their tyres” thanks to low track temperatures of between 19°C and 26°C.
Porsche LMP Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing ended up making different tyre choices for the race, with the former opting for the ‘hard’ option and its Japanese rivals running the ‘medium’ compound from start to finish. Toyota Gazoo Racing topped qualifying to start from the front of the field and lead early on, but Porsche LMP Team’s new aerodynamic package revealed its efficiency on Lap 43 when Brendon Hartley (N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid) eased past José-Maria Lopez (N°7 Toyota TS050-Hybrid) at the end of the main straight. Two laps later, with just 80 minutes completed, the other Porsche found a way through and the Weissach-based outfit proceeded to pull out a comfortable cushion at the top of the order while its cars traded first and second places several times. The N°7 Toyota TS050-Hybrid kept the German prototypes under pressure for the next 20 or so laps but then started to fall back and ultimately finished third. The N°8 sister car was delayed by a technical problem at the start but went on to claim fourth spot and harvest valuable championship points
All the LM GTE Pro teams went for medium-compound rubber and successfully double-stinted, in compliance with the regulations. The race ended with an all-Michelin podium in this class, spearheaded by the N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE driven by James Calado and Pier Guidi, which fought back from seventh on the grid by paying careful attention to fuel consumption and running longer stints without a tyre change. The Italian machine was chased over the line by Porsche GT Team’s 911 RSRs, which confirmed the potential it had shown during the previous day’s qualifying session.