After the challenge of the new surface at Jerez a fortnight ago, Michelin now have themselves a slightly easier task at the Shark Helmets Grand Prix de France with the French tyre manufacturers holding all the race and lap records around the 4.2km circuit following its own resurfacing prior to the 2016 French GP.
The Le Mans Grand Prix race circuit has five left and nine right hand corners for the world’s best to tackle across the weekend, helped by a normal allocation of a soft, medium and hard compounds for the front and rear, following the addition of an extra hard compound at the Spanish GP.
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The rear tyres feature an asymmetric design with a harder right-hand-side to contend with the extra corners. The front hard will be the new compound that was added to the allocation at the start of the season, whilst the rears will have the new technology compound which was tested in the pre-season and then included in this year’s range.
Rain could possibly add to the drama, as we’ve seen at Le Mans in recent years. If that is the case, Michelin are prepared by bringing soft and medium compound wet tyres and, as with the slick counterparts, the rear wets will also have an asymmetric finish with a harder right side.
With a number of first and second gear, tight corners the key to fast lap around Le Mans is getting the front end as stable as possible, whilst also needing a great deal of traction during the hard acceleration out of these corners.
Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “This weekend is one the most important events for us on the calendar. It is our home race so we have the support of the French fans with us and also we have a huge presence from Michelin that come to the race, so we know we have a lot of people that want us to do well, meaning it is imperative that we give them a good show.
“The Le Mans circuit is one where we have many records and also one which we use a reference because the asphalt is so good since it was resurfaced, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be looking to improve.
“We have new compounds in the range that were added after the tests at the start of the year and these will certainly help the riders to improve their performances – as happened at Jerez last time out – and add to what promises to be another great event.”