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Michelin Thriving on New Formula E Challenge

Michelin’s Serge Grisin tells e-racing365 about the new Michelin Pilot Sport EV3 tire….

Photo: Michelin

Michelin’s new tire for the second generation Formula E car is lighter and will continue to give vital technology transfer to the company’s future road car products, according to Serge Grisin.

Grisin, Michelin’s Formula E manager, says that development of the Michelin Pilot Sport EV3 has been conducted with the objective of increasing efficiency and leveraging the knowledge already learnt in Formula E.

Michelin, a key technical supplier in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, has been the exclusive tire partner for the all-electric series since its debut in 2014.

Its third-generation Formula E tire has been in development since late last year and has already completed thousands of test miles, including the recent group manufacturer test at Monteblanco.

“It is not the same situation as in 2013 when we had to deliver the first Michelin tires,” Grisin told e-racing365.

“When nothing was existing, no cars, no tracks, we had to develop it from scratch which was a big project, so clearly now we have more than three seasons of experience, but it is a new car, so it is still a big challenge.”

Grisin believes that the car’s improved power, which is set to potentially run to 250kW in qualifying, has been the key challenge facing Michelin.

“There will be much more power, the weight is different, the car is different so it is a big endeavor. But now we have more information than we did for that first one,” he said.

“It is also important to stay on track with improving a lot of things in the tire and improving the energy efficiency which also means improving the weight of the tire.”

The new Michelin tires are set to be approximately 4 kgs lighter total on a car, compared to the current Pilot Sport EV2 product, which debuted last year.

Grisin believes it will play a crucial factor in delivering an efficient tire that will give increased consistency over an entire race event.

“This weight saving is a big achievement,” he said.

“When we do that it is the same level of performance or more because we try to improve some of the performances especially in stiffness, but we do it with less weight which is a bold engineering challenge.”

Performance and feel for the driver is also key for Michelin.

Several drivers told e-racing365 that there was little noticeable difference in handling from the present tires despite the improved weight and efficiency.

“We need to have a tire that gives the same feeling to the driver, because when the driver looks at the tread pattern of the tire they think, oh that will slide, that will be very smooth,” said Grisin.

“We have to give the impression that it is a slick tire.

“When you say that this new tire is lighter than the previous one, then they say if it is lighter this means there will be less stiffness, so once again you think that you will have a smooth sensation.

“This is why when we are doing this. We’re [aiming] to have the same level of stiffness or to improve.

“We had more stiffness in Season Three compared to Season Two and lighter as well, so it will progress like this.”

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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