Lighter and road-near – Michelin ready for Formula E season with new Pilot Sport
The new-generation Michelin Pilot Sport tyre set to debut in the 2018/19 Formula E season will be lighter, more energy efficient and bear an even closer resemblance to road tyres than the first-generation Michelin tyre. Its introduction accompanies changes to vehicle technical specifications that come into effect at the start of the all-electric racing series’ fifth season.
Compared with the first-generation tyre, the new Pilot Sport front tyre is two kilogrammes lighter, while the rear tyre weighs two and a half kilogrammes less. The nine kilogramme weight reduction achieved in total means that a set of four tyres is now almost 20 per cent lighter than those previously used.
Michelin states that it has “worked on the construction and rolling resistance of the latest-generation Michelin Pilot Sport to optimise its energy efficiency.” Improvements here will extend the range of Formula E single seaters, however Michelin hasn’t provided specific details regarding potential improvement in range.
“Thanks to its patterned tread and interior diameter of 18 inches, the Michelin Pilot Sport resembles a road tyre.” This similarity is of course intentional – Michelin has talked about race to road technology transfer since it first signed up as tyre supplier. For the latest version of the Pilot Sport, the manufacturer comments that “its construction and the compounds selected for its tread conceal significant technological innovations that could well be carried over to production tyres in the future.”
The Pilot Sport front and rear tyres are both 24/64-18, which is equivalent to 245/40R18, and have an asymmetrical, non-directional tread pattern suitable for use in both wet and dry conditions. The new-generation tyre is easily recognisable by the graphic motif on its sidewall; reiterating the similarities between the Pilot Sport and the company’s road tyres, Michelin comments that this graphic is “the only sign that it is actually intended for racing.”