Round eight at Shanghai with championship crowns to be claimed
This year again, the 6 Hours of Shanghai, penultimate round of the 2017 FIA WEC (where many teams involved are equipped by BMC), could prove decisive in sealing the outcomes of the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ title chases across the different classes. Although the experts are predicting mild weather, tyre choice promises to play a crucial role given that 2017 regulations mean teams will need to double stint on the same tyres. With Saturday expected to be overcast, followed by sunny intervals on Sunday, the temperature is unlikely to exceed 20°C over the Shanghai weekend, which means teams will be able to opt for competitive strategies as a function of track temperature which is itself dictated by the asphalt’s heat-absorption properties. From the tyre point of view, the 5.451km Hermann Tilke-designed circuit is particularly demanding due to its combination of short straights, slow turns and two much longer straights. The cars tend to run with high-downforce set-ups and the layout calls for repeated heavy braking plus hard re-acceleration. As a result, tyres get very little respite, not to mention the fact that Shanghai is one of the most abrasive venues of the championship. All these factors influence wear rates, of course, but the sporting regulations compel double stinting for the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro cars. However, the consistency of Michelin’s endurance racing tyres means they will be able to comply with this requirement in complete safety.
The analysis of…
Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programmes
“Shanghai is the hardest round of the calendar in terms of tyre wear and degradation due to the abrasiveness of the asphalt. The corkscrew-like profile of certain corners adds to the challenge since the onus of ensuring grip is on the tyres because of the cars’ low downforce configurations. The biggest challenge for us will be the double-stinting which is made mandatory by the 2017 regulations. Smart tyre management consequently promises to play a big role in the teams’ respective strategies and the neutral weather should see them run a variety of compound choices”.
BMC News, International Online Magazine