- Mud Flaps
- Engine Tuning
November 15, 2010
Michelin dug deep into their bag of technology tricks in their search for performance gains. Like its predecessor, the Pilot Super Sport features side-by-side tread compounds across the asymmetric tread pattern. The outboard third uses a unique carbon black elastomer derived directly from Michelin's endurance racing tires used to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and provide high levels of long-lasting dry traction, while the inboard compound continues to focus on providing grip on wet roads. They have also worked hard to tune the contact patch during hard cornering. Michelin's Variable Contact Patch 2.0 improves footprint pressure distribution, aiding handling and improving treadwear. Part of this comes from how they have engineered the internal architecture of the tire, which uses Twaron, a unique aramid fiber, to control the shape of the tire as it rolls at high speed.
Since only selected Ferrari sizes are currently available today, Michelin gave several members of the Tire Rack team the opportunity to preview the Pilot Super Sport's dry and wet performance at the Dubai Autodrome in the United Arab Emirates. Built to FIA standards, this track would prove to be a great location for the Pilot Super Sport to stretch its legs.
Stop and Turn
Separate cars and a different competitor tire were used for dry and wet braking, using the ABS to help maximize tire traction as we performed panic stops from 55 mph. Using the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric for comparison, the Pilot Super Sport displayed an equivalent stopping distance in the wet, and a slightly shorter distance in the dry.
Dry Track Handling
The Pilot Super Sport felt more responsive to the initial input of the wheel and carved down to the apex with more authority. Ultimate cornering power felt somewhat higher, too. The massive Porsche ceramic brakes made it easy enough to activate ABS with both tires as the car was hauled down from triple-digit speeds, but the Pilot Super Sport allowed for harder pedal pressure before engaging the ABS. Also impressive was the overall handling balance of the car fitted with Pilot Super Sport tires, which bolstered driver confidence around several decreasing radius corners of the course, and allowed the throttle to be picked up a little bit sooner as we accelerated away from each corner.
The Pilot Super Sport doesn't feel like it will challenge true track tires (like the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup), but it does feel capable enough to raise the bar in the Max Performance Summer category.
Did you save room for dessert?
As icing on the cake, Michelin brought along a few of their favorite toys, also fitted with Pilot Super Sport tires. We were treated to ride along in some of the world's most sought-after super cars - AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW M3, Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, Gumpert Apollo, Koenigsegg Agera, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz SLS, a 1,000 horsepower MKB P1000 Mercedes-Benz SL65, Porsche 911 Turbo, and more. The Pilot Super Sport proved stable, predictable and very capable of harnessing the power of these amazing cars.
As the sun set over the Dubai Autodrome, we were left to bask in the glow of a day spent blasting around the racetrack in amazing sports cars riding on an impressive tire. Scheduled to be released to North America in a wide range of sizes in the spring of 2011, we're looking forward to the opportunity to evaluate the Pilot Super Sport back at our Indiana headquarters on our Real World Road Ride and Performance Track Drive. Stay tuned for a full test report coming in 2011.