Michelin’s shocking bid for WRC tyre dominance: Who will rule the roads in 2025?

Michelin is setting the stage for a monumental return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) scene. Michelin appears to be keen on securing the title of the WRC’s sole tyre supplier from 2025 to 2027, intensifying the competition.

Michelin Tires – motorsandpeople.com

Earlier in July, the FIA introduced a WRC tyre tender, effectively inviting major tyre brands to compete for the esteemed position. This new arrangement, slated to span from 2025 to 2027, lines up perfectly with WRC’s impending shift to fresh regulations.

Pirelli, the renowned Italian tyre giant, currently holds the mantle of the official tyre supplier across all WRC categories. They bagged this role after outpacing competitors in the FIA’s 2019 WRC tyre tender. Consequently, they’ve been the rubber providers from 2021 through to 2024. This tenure encapsulates the final season of the WRC generation car and the introductory three seasons under the groundbreaking Rally1 hybrid regulations. However, it’s noteworthy to mention that Michelin is no stranger to this turf. They’ve held this pivotal role from 2011-2020. Their tenure witnessed collaboration with DMACK until the latter took a backseat post-2017.

As the 15 September deadline inches closer, reliable sources have tipped that Michelin is geared up to throw its hat into the ring. This speculation was further fueled when an official representative from Michelin was spotted at the recent Acropolis Rally.

But Michelin isn’t alone. Reports suggest that MRF Tyres, from India, might have also placed their bid. To thicken the plot, Pirelli is also in the race to retain its position. Sharing his thoughts, Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli’s rally activity manager, mentioned in early August that despite the tight deadlines, Pirelli is orchestrating a solid proposal involving multiple departments to ensure they put their best foot forward.

Eager fans and industry veterans won’t have to wait long. The FIA is set to unveil the victor come 19 October.

Diving deeper into the FIA’s stipulations for the tender, it emphasizes that aspirants should furnish evidence of the safety, reliability, and equal sporting capabilities of their tyres for all participants. The regulations also require a range of tyres to suit diverse terrains and weather conditions. From gravel and tarmac variants to winter adaptations (both studded and non-studded), the list is comprehensive. Not just that, the FIA also mandates that the chosen products should exhibit superior puncture resistance and allow for diverse compound strategies.

With these rigorous standards in place, it’s clear that the race to the top will be fierce, leaving enthusiasts worldwide on the edge of their seats.