Michelin Unlocks the Vault for New Performance Tire Lines

Michelin 'Unlocks the Vault' for New Performance Tire Lines

'Unprecedented Level of Motorsports Tire Technology Transfers'

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Vehicle manufacturers and technology
developers often claim that their motorsports programs provide a proving
ground for new technologies. When pressed, they can sometimes point to an
electronics package, transmission or an engine technology. Michelin has taken
a more direct route.
"We are blowing open the vault to bring more of our outstanding
motorsports technology to the consumer," said Sheryl Henderson, Michelin brand
director, Michelin North America, Inc.
Drawing from the technology, resources and experience behind one of the
most extensive and successful motorsports program in the world, Michelin is
transferring an "unprecedented" level of its competition technology to four
new ultra-high-performance passenger car tire lines. The new Michelin (R)
Pilot(R) Sport PS2(TM) will be available to consumers beginning in the spring
of 2004, followed later in the year by the Michelin(R) Pilot(R) Exalto
PE2(TM), the Michelin(R) Pilot(R) XGT Z4(TM) and the Michelin(R) Pilot(R)
Alpin(R) PA2(TM).
"Michelin is developing so much new technology in design, construction,
compounding and tread design that these new street tires represent a
tremendous increase in the volume and level of performance innovations flowing
to the market at one time," Henderson said.

The 2003 Michelin Record:

Michelin Formula One-partner teams (Williams-BMW; West McLaren Mercedes;
Renault, Jaguar and Toyota) scored seven poles, eight race wins and 30 of 48
podiums in 2003 competition. The five teams scored 408 of 624 (65.38 percent)
championship points.
In endurance competition, Michelin teams swept the top ten overall
positions and all four classes as Michelin scored its sixth consecutive
overall race victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Michelin-fitted overall
race winning Bentley Speed 8 car twice quadruple stinted (four fuel loads on a
set of tires) on its way to victory.
In the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Michelin teams won the overall, the
LMP900 (Audi) and the GT Class (Porsche) championships. In addition, Michelin
fitted-Ferraris won the GTS class in the last four consecutive ALMS events
after beating the series-champion Corvettes by ten laps at the 24 Hours of Le
Mans.
Michelin partner teams (Peugeot, Citroen, Ford) have won ten of the
13 World Rally Championship (WRC) events to date and locked up a record 16th
team championship. Michelin drivers lead the championship and hold eight of
the top nine positions with one race remaining. Earlier in the season
Michelin scored its 200th WRC victory.
In addition, Michelin teams continue to shine in motorcycle competition,
having captured the MotoGP 500cc World Championship for a fifth consecutive
year and posting a 300th series victory earlier in the year. Michelin team
riders also won the World Superbike championship.

The Michelin Technology Transfers:

Michelin has always believed in transferring technology from its
motorsports programs to its consumer products.
"We've taken a great deal of technology and experience from our
motorsports programs for these four new tire lines," said Henderson. "We
started with the philosophy of the tire, especially for the Michelin Pilot
Sport PS2. The weight, belt package and belt compliance all are based upon
our racing experience. The sidewall stiffness and traction features also tie
back to lessons we've learned in competition."

Here are additional examples of the Michelin technology transfer:

* The new Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 was inspired by Michelin Formula One
tires. The four-groove tread is designed to provide greater stability
in tread and contact area under extreme cornering.

* Asymetric tread in combination with dual tread compounding optimize wet
and dry performance.

* Ladoux, France, where all Michelin race tires are designed and produced,
was the "birthplace" of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2.

* The Pilot Sport PS2 features Le Mans endurance racing-influenced softer,
stickier compounding that maximizes dry grip without compromising tread
life.

* All four new tire lines will be produced on Michelin's proprietary
manufacturing processes, including its highly guarded C3M manufacturing
system for some of the products.

"These are the best handling, highest grip, best performing street tires
that Michelin has ever offered to the public," said Henderson.
Michelin manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including
airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty
trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel
guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America
(http://www.michelinman.com) employs 24,640 and operates 22 plants in 18
locations.

SOURCE Michelin North America, Inc.
Web Site: http://www.michelinman.com

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