I’m indeed fortunate and honoured to be invited by Michelin again to watch the Le Mans Silverstone 2011. The day promised to be full of racing excitement and an excellent opportunity to catchup with friends that I’ve made in Portugal.
The Le Mans series of races are not only about the speed of the cars and drivers, but also about endurance, reliability, efficiency and race strategy. There is also the Michelin X Green Challenge which awards the team with the best energy performance ratio. This challenge reflects Michelin’s commitment not just to race performance, but also being environmentally responsible.
The biggest competition for this weekend was between Peugeot and Audi. Specifically, the race between Allan McNish’s Audi and Sébastien Bourdais’s Peugeot. I was fortunate to watch the start of the race from the grandstands and witnessed the crash of Allan McNish – which was unfortunate.
By a stroke of luck, I was invited by Mr Kevin Jones, Public Relations Manager of Peugeot to join him at the Peugeot motorhome and watch the race from there. I really enjoyed great hospitality by the Peugeot team and was extremely happy that their team won the race.

Picture of Peugeot Motorhome

I found the tour of the pit area extremely interesting and able to witness the scramble of activities during a pit stop where a change of tyres and drivers took place. What impressed me was the picture of focus and tension when the team prepared for a pit stop. It was even better watching the champion team in action and experiencing first-hand the happenings inside a pit garage during the race. The stop was done in superquick time and the car went on to win the race.

Picture of Team Peugeot changing tyres at their final pit stop

I had the chance to talk to Sébastien Bourdais and Anthony Davidson at the motor-home. Seb was chilling out and having a chat whilst I approached him to say ‘great driving, brilliant race’ and got an autograph off both of them.
Another great tour I had was at the MichelinTyres fitting area during the race. I saw the bustle of activities when tyres were brought in (after each pit stop), taken off the wheels and replaced with new ones. I was informed about how each tyre was taken care of and analysed after their use. This enabled teams to understand their tyre performance and maximize their performance. Each big team had a tyre engineer assigned to them where he will stay with the team for the whole season. This simply reflects the importance of tyres to any race teams. Every single race tyre had to be accounted for and sent for destruction as Michelin was keen not to share cutting edge technology information with other tyre makers.

Excellent picture of Peugeot and Michelin partnership at the tyrefitting area. Pretty lady isn’t she.

Picture of the shredded tyre of Allan McNish

All in, it was a great day out at Silverstone.Team Peugeot won the gruelling race, which reflects excellence and reliability intheir drivers, cars, technology and their partnership with Michelin. Michelin was a big winner too, as the top teams (Peugeot and Audi) were clad in Michelin tyres. I would like to thank Paul from Michelin for inviting me to this event and Kevin from Peugeot for inviting me to enjoy the race from their hospitality area. It was also fantastic to catch up with fellow car enthusiasts who encouraged me to come out of stone-age and create a twitter account.