Regardless of what emblem your car wears, you can’t help but be in awe walking through the exhibitions at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Open to the public from January 16-24, this event brings together the latest in tech and design in the form of gleaming vehicles and larger than life displays that have to be seen to be believed. Enormous video backdrops make many of the exhibits feel like living commercials that you are in the middle of as the automotive industry proves that it has come back bigger than ever. If there is any way possible for you to attend this show, you need to take it from us that this is a trip worth making.
Corvette fans will immediately find themselves drawn to the Michelin exhibit as it has been designed to celebrate the track to street connection that they bring to the Corvette experience. Making the point dramatically with a Corvette Racing C7.R chasing after a production Corvette Z06, this exhibit is becoming the background to countless selfies as people come to see the latest in tire technology.
Lee Willard from the Michelin Research Group is a familiar face at Corvette races and the Museum. As the central figure in developing tires for the Corvette he is clearly excited about the latest offering from Michelin. “Together with our North American President and CEO Pete Selleck, and Chief Operating Officer Scott Clark (pictured right) and Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner (left), we’ve introduced the new Pilot Sport All-Season 3+ tire. This tire is a big improvement over the Pilot All-Season 3, and what’s important about this tire for Corvette owners is that we have them in new dimensions in ZP run flat. We have them for the standard Stingray and the Z51, as well as the C6 Grand Sport and C6 Z06. One of the main reasons we created this tire was because of Corvette owners. They’ve come up to me at Corvette Museum events and at races, asking about when Michelin would come out with an all-weather tire for their car. This is our answer to that question and they’ll be available in October of 2016.”
Lee feels a special connection to the Corvette community. “I’ve been working on Corvette tires since 1990, so there’s twenty-five years of being exposed to Corvette owners and Corvette Racing. During that time they’ve given me an understanding of what they are looking for and for what the tires performance levels should be. Using very sophisticated computer engineering models we were able to input our ideas and the data we have collected along with customer feedback, to run simulations and optimize solutions for this new tire. A lot of chemistry and compounding technology came into play, combined with our mechanical understanding of tire architecture, to get us to the best performance levels for the vehicle with greater wet and dry traction, and with good wear at the same time.”
As to why Corvettes are so prominently featured in their booth at the auto show this year, Lee smiles. “When Michelin came over to the U.S., the main goal was to be fit on the Corvette. It’s America’s flagship sports car. The most work on this side of the Atlantic has been put into Corvette. We won the right to be on the ZR1 in 2009, and are now proud to be on all Corvettes. Having developed the tire first for track and now for street, using the Corvettes for our display here is the perfect example of technology transfer at its best.”
For more information about the NAIAS visit Naias.com
To learn more about the Michel Michelin Tire Selector on http://www.michelinman.com to find a complete listing of MICHELIN Pilot Sport A/S3+ tire benefits and to research the best tire for your individual needs.
We hope you enjoy these scenes from the 2016 NAIAS!