Non-stop thrills and spills at the 2014 Michelin Pilot Sport Experience

  Since 2006, eager enthusiasts in the country have been able to experience once a year, first-hand what it’s like to be behind the wheel of some of the most exhilarating racers in various motorsport categories, thanks to the generous support of Michelin. Every year, the specially invited media representatives and guests take to the Sepang International F1 Circuit for a whole day of racing adventure. This year, the event spanned a total of 22 days filled with thrills and spills that saw more than 500 participants from 16 countries congregate at the Sepang track for some fast paced non-stop action.

The Michelin Pilot Sport Experience gave the participants, including a select number of motorists, the exhilaration and adrenaline rush of piloting some of the most competitive racing cars in the motorsport world. As always, all of the activities were done under the watchful eye of professional instructors and renowned racecar drivers with years of experience in a safe and competitive driving environment with a strict no-compromise policy. Prior to taking part in the day’s activities, every single driver was screened for blood pressure to ensure the utmost safety of every participant on the track. Participants’ once-in-a-lifetime experience included heart-pumping and spine tingling drives in high performance race cars from the Formula 4, Toyota GT86, Renault Clio Cup, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo to the legendary Formula Le Mans.

For the first time this year, the event included the participation of winners from Michelin’s The Right 2 Race online game. The winners were picked from six countries, and from over 3,647 entrants, having won an invitation to this event by setting the fastest lap time using their chosen racing lines and braking points around the digital version of the Sepang International circuit. The winners quickly found out that virtual motor racing behind a computer screen and real racing behind an actual steering wheel were completely different experiences altogether, where there are no reset buttons and instant replays, and if they wiped out on the track it would be for real.

Tony Menard, S.E.A. and Oceania Director of Passenger Car and Light Truck, said, “Michelin has a strong passion for motorsport. Racers rely on the best tyres as part of their key winning successes and to ensure their own safety. Over a century Michelin has been committed to bringing exceptional performance through its tyres to them. The tyres that Michelin develops leverage sustainable combined performance characteristics illustrated by our philosophy – Michelin Total Performance – which reconciles qualities that some believe to be conflicting by virtue of technology, a principle that is at the heart of the company’s Research and Development strategy.”

“These exceptional performance levels are translated to Michelin successes and wins in some of world’s most competitive series such as the WEC (World Endurance Championship), the Le Mans 24-hour, the WRC (World Rally Championship) and the Dakar Rally. Motorsport is a laboratory to design, test and prove our technologies. Thanks to our considerable investment in Research and Development, products tested on the tracks are playing a vital role when it comes to developing our road tyres,” he added.

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high performance tyres unveiled at the 2014 Michelin Pilot Sport Experience

Unveiled as part of the Pilot Sport Experience is the new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 race-bred high performance road tyre, the latest generation of road legal track tyre designed for ultra-high performance cars. The performance levels that this tyre offers are clearly demonstrated by the fact that it is the sole original equipment tyre on recent supercars such as the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series and the Porsche 918 Spyder. The wow factor of this tyre stems from the fact that this new rubber improves treadwear by a phenomenal 50% while reducing lap times at the same time! Traditionally, improved treadwear usually means less traction and vice versa, but the Pilot Sport Cup 2 manages to reel in these two opposing forces together, pretty much defying the laws of physics and compound limitations in one fell swoop.

The secret lies in the Pilot Sport Cup 2’s tread pattern, which molds Michelin’s Bi-Compound technology into an asymmetric design. Bi-Compound technology fuses different rubber compounds on the tread’s outer and inner regions. Huge outer shoulders feature a tread with a hardness that has been specially formulated to deliver maximum traction and outstanding dry grip on corners, especially tight ones. Notched center ribs and an inner shoulder use tread rubber that contains a more rigid elastomer for precision steering.

Pilot Sport Cup 2 also features Michelin Variable Contact Patch 3.0, an evolution of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 technology that featured in the Pilot Super Sport and Pilot Sport A/S 3 tyres. Variable Contact Patch 3.0 maximizes the contact patch size and optimizes its footprint so that there is more rubber adhesion on the track when cornering, thereby ensuring superior grip in curves and tight corners.

The tyre’s casing features twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wound Twaron cord. Twaron is a polyamide cord that offers a lightweight, high-strength reinforcement above the steel belts to enhance high-speed durability, handling and wear. Michelin FAZ Technology (Filament At Zero degrees) twirls the Twaron cord around the tyre to allow tuning of tension and strength. The Twaron is applied with variable tension between the shoulders and the center of the tyre, and is tightened so firmly that it literally locks the tyre structure into a practically inelastic belt. As a result, the tyre’s footprint remains constant and centrifugal force is effectively controlled, even at very high speeds.

The Pilot Sport Cup 2’s claim to fame also lies in the use of a polyester casing that combines ride comfort with responsive handling. Its bead region is 10% wider than that of traditional sports tyres and is strengthened with a high modulus rubber compound that increases the shod’s lateral stiffness and delivers sporty responsiveness, as well as precision steering. With the Pilot Sport Cup 2, you could figuratively have your cake and eat it any way you like, whether on track or on council roads. And with 50% more tread life, your local tyre shop won’t be too happy to sell you a set!

The event was organized by Oreca Asia Limited, an event firm headquartered in Hong Kong. For those who missed the event, dolook out for another promising not to be missed adventure the following year.

The 2014 Michelin Pilot Sport Experience images