Each team on Michelin tires has a dedicated Michelin technician — identifiable by yellow-trimmed uniform — at the racetrack. Among many other duties, he or she checks the temperature of the tires at every pit stop. Williams says that 200-220F is the ideal running temperature for a car tire. Temperatures above 240F cause loss of grip due to the tire pressure becoming too high and the tire components liquefying. To keep temperatures lower than that, technicians use Nitrogen, a gas that resists humidity and its related temperature increases, for inflation.
This devotion to research and development has helped make Michelin a giant in the auto tire market and the biggest manufacturing employer in South Carolina.