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New Michelin Ranking Tower for Le Mans

Greg Emmerson
Feb 22, 2013
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Michelin ranking tower Photo 1/1   |   Michelin Ranking Tower

Michelin Tires has been a key sponsor of endurance racing (both car and motorcycle) for the better part of a century. With its high performance racing and the length of the races, endurance motorsport is the perfect platform to promote Michelin's Total Performance concept through its extensive R&D to its new tire technology - especially in 24-hour endurance races.

The drivers and teams aren't the only ones exhausted by the long races, though. It can take a toll on the fans too. And a lot can happen during a race, especialy if you doze off and miss something.

So Michelin reached an agreement with the Automobile Club de I'Ouest (ACO) to build a new tower by the pitlane to show race positions for the 24-hour race. The tower, called the "Michelin Ranking Tower" will be 82ft tall, and will keep tabs on the standings throughout the race.

These kinds of towers aren't new. At the inaugural Le Mans 24 Hours in 1923, the ACO had a massive board that was lit acetylene gas. This eye-catching leader board also caught the eyes of sponsors, who used it to promote their brands a few years later. They were so noticeable that during WW2 they were used to display the news to the public day and night.

After the war, the board regained its previous role as the leader board, although it went through several changes. There was a two-sided board powered by thousands of light bulbs, and even a blimp in the sky!

Michelin's new Ranking Tower is not only fan friendly but also a legacy of how we've watched Le Mans for the past 90 years.

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By Greg Emmerson
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