Michelin has lined up a team of drivers and cars to test its latest tyres — including a Maserati 250F and an ERA. No, not pre-war machines on 13in slicks, but the development of a new range of historic racing tyres, up till now the preserve of Dunlop. The French firm has always offered its old patterns, but did not actually make such race tyres even in period. Hence the development from scratch, helped by the newly-formed TOPS organisation. Drivers booked for the March session at Michelin’s private circuit near Clermont-Ferrand are Richard Pilkington, Willie Green and Martin Morris, with the aformentioned cars plus an Alfa Monza and the Talbot-Lago from the Pilkington’s Totnes Motor Museum.
TOPS itself has been founded by Trisha and Richard Pilkington to provide fun outings for owners of mainly Fifties sports and Grand Prix machinery. Aiming more to tempt sponsors with high-speed demonstrations and supports to existing meetings than to run its own races, the Pilkingtons say they are merely giving an identity to their previously informal “dating service” between drivers and sponsors, be it circuit, firm or town. Events confirmed for 1995 include three in France and one in Italy; more details from TOPS on 01803 722357. The Talbot will be used for the launch of the new rubber at Retromobile in Paris this month (Feb 10-19), and Michelin hopes to be racing by the end of this season.