Written By Hugh Waring
Michelin, the renowned French tire manufacturer, has announced its decision to discontinue its tire supply in SUPER GT's top GT500 class after the conclusion of the 2023 season. This surprising move marks the end of Michelin's long-standing partnership with Nissan and the works NISMO team, which the company has supported since the 2013 season.
In a brief statement released on Wednesday, Michelin stated that the decision was made as a result of the company's reconsideration of its race support structure. Despite this announcement, Michelin clarified that it will continue to supply tires to the #23 NISMO and #3 NDDP Racing Nissan Zs, which currently hold the top two positions in the point standings, until the end of the ongoing season.
Michelin since the announcement has clarified that it will continue supplying tyres to the GT300 customers team, Team Studie BMW M4 GT3, it appears that the company's withdrawal is solely focused on the GT500 class.
With Michelin's departure, the top class of SUPER GT will now have three tire suppliers for the first time since the 2008 season. Bridgestone, Yokohama, and Dunlop will become the remaining suppliers in the GT500 class.
Bridgestone currently serves as the primary tire supplier, providing tires for the majority of the 15-strong GT500 field. This season, the ARTA Honda squad added a second car to its lineup, further expanding Bridgestone's presence.
Yokohama, like Michelin, currently supplies two cars in the GT500 class—the Racing Project Bandoh Toyota GR Supra and the Kondo Racing Nissan. Meanwhile, Dunlop supplies tires to the Nakajima Racing Honda NSX-GT.
It is worth noting that prior to this recent partnership with Michelin, the works NISMO team used Bridgestone tires in the 2010 season before reverting to Michelin in the following year. Michelin's success in SUPER GT includes four GT500 titles, with two achieved alongside the MOLA Nissan squad in 2011-12, and another two secured with NISMO in 2014-15.
Throughout its history, Michelin has also supplied tires to other teams in the GT500 class, such as Dome Honda and SARD Toyota, and had a notable partnership with the TOM'S Toyota team from 1999 to 2003.