SAKHIR, Bahrain — Group Michelin has agreed to continue supplying race tires for at least the next three seasons to the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the annual Le Mans 24 Hours race.
The agreement extends a relationship that started in 2012, Michelin said, when the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was created, and comes at a time when the FIA is reviewing the technical specifications for the WEC.
Technically speaking, the WEC is an open competition series for tire makers, but Michelin has been the only one supplying the series top Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) class for the past few years. Goodyear, through its Dunlop Motorsports division, is also active in the series' LMP2 class for lower-powered cars.
Both Michelin and Dunlop supply the series' production-based GT classes.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Gérard Neveu, Le Mans Endurance Management CEO for the WEC, lauded Michelin for being both a key technical supplier and promotional supporter of the WEC and the GTE series.
Michelin's decision to continue supplying the WEC coincides with changes being made to the series' technical specifications for the LMP1 class, in the wake of the departure of the Audi and Porsche works teams. This leaves only the Toyota factory team competing under the current rules, which proscribe hybrid-power systems.
Moving forward, the FIA will introduce measures to equalize the performance of non-hybrid and hybrid cars in order to make the series attractive for "privateer" teams hoping to compete in this top formula.
The next three WEC seasons will stretch over four years, through 2021, as the series goes through a trio of non-calendar-year seasons — 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Michelin also will be the designated race tire supplier starting in 2019 for the International Motor Sports Association's WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and its two major challenge series.
The WEC and WeatherTech series will overlap next year at Sebring International Raceway, where both will run 12-hour endurance races on consecutive days in March.