This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix saw French tyre manufacturer Michelin celebrate their 400th Grand Prix win with Marc Marquez taking victory in Grand Prix racing. The sole supplier to the premier class since the start of 2016, the firm have nonetheless achieved most of their wins during the age of tyre competition, taking 360 of those 400 wins in an open field.
Michelin joined the 500cc World Championship in 1973 and recorded its first victory at the Isle of Man TT course as Jack Findlay raced to victory in the Senior Tourist Trophy event on a Suzuki. Building from there, Barry Sheene became the first rider to win on a slick tyre at the 1975 Dutch TT before delivering the firm their first championship the following year.
Soon becoming the tyres to have, the firm used their early success to dominate the sport by the mid-eighties, taking a clean sweep of 500, 250, 125 and 80 championships between 1986 and 1989
Michelin’s final victory in the competition era came at Catalunya in 2008, as Dani Pedrosa took victory before a forced hiatus of seven-years due to the single make tyre rule stopped the French company’s winning run.
Speaking after marc Marquez’s win on Sunday, Pascal Couasnon, Director of Michelin Motorsport, said “this is an incredible achievement and one that we are very proud of at Michelin. To have completed 400 wins in such a competitive series is an accomplishment that needs to be celebrated and we have our innovative colleagues to thank for their foresight in the early days when they created such competitive and radically new tyres with the introduction of firstly slicks and then radial tyres.
“To have such a huge success rate in the competition era was amazing and those triumphs has also led to Michelin producing tyres for the road which have used technology directly from the racing arena. The 73% win rate in the open era is something to be celebrated on its own and when you consider that in the first three seasons that we were in the championship from 1973 to 1975, Michelin only scored three victories, then the success rate following that is even more incredible.
“We have had many great champions race to victory on Michelin tyres and we have been pleased to celebrate each victory, so I want to send my congratulations and thanks to all of them for helping us reach this fantastic milestone and here’s to the next 100.”