Michelin Confirms That its Close To Developing Tires That Can Help a Supercar Reach 300 MPH
Koenigsegg, Buggati, or Hennessey? The race to 300 mph rages onby Kirby Garlitos, on
French tire manufacturer Michelin is on the cusp of developing tires that can help an automaker reach a top speed of 300 mph. The development is the latest frontier in a race among a handful of automakers to become the first company to have a car that can reach a top speed of 300 mph. While the hypothetical race is mostly driven by ego, Michelin is right at the center of it because it’s the company that supplied tires to Bugatti and Koenigsegg when they set their respective top speed records.
Michelin faces the challenge of developing tires that can withstand the heat, downforce, and friction of the wheels meeting the road.
If you think this race isn’t serious, then you’re not paying attention. Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Hennessey are all in this race, and that figures to be the case until someone actually does. Bugatti CEO Stephan Winkelmann is playing coy on the matter, saying that it’s not “on the top of my agenda,” but make no mistake, it’s something that the French automaker continues to think about, especially now that the world top speed record held by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport has been usurped by the Koenigsegg Agera RS.
Winkelmann’s position is the complete opposite of Hennessey founder John Hennessey. The latter admits that achieving 300 mph on the Venom F5 is his “goal,” and he has made no secret that a big part of the Venom F5’s existence is tied into breaking that barrier.
The unrelenting pursuit to breaking 300 mph is why a tire maker like Michelin plays such an important role in achieving that mark. “It’s a big game, with fierce competition, and it’s very fast-moving,” Eric Schmedding, Michelin’s product manager for original equipment, told Bloomberg.
As the company that’s responsible for making the record-breaking tires used by Bugatti and Koenigsegg, Michelin faces the challenge of developing tires that can withstand the heat, downforce, and friction of the wheels meeting the road. It’s a task that’s easier said than done because part of the challenge is to develop tires that can mitigate heat, pressure, and wear. For a car to be able to do 300 mph, it needs to have tires that can withstand high speeds for minutes at a time, and do it repeatedly to give a car enough changes to make several speed runs over a set course.
For a car to be able to do 300 mph, it needs to have tires that can withstand high speeds for minutes at a time
Scheming says that Michelin is “knocking on the door of 300 mph” so if the development progresses at the rate the company is alluding to, we could finally see a car break that never-before-done speed mark for a production model.
It’s unclear which automaker it’s going to be, but you can be sure that Bugatti, Koenigsegg, and Hennessey are all invested in how soon Michelin can develop these tires. They can play down its importance, but the people who deal with these companies know how important it is to be the first to do it.
Brett David, the owner of Prestige Imports in Miami, put it best when he said that “the race to 300 mph is very, very real.”
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