Michelin releases racing-influenced and designed UHP tire

Jan. 1, 2020
Michelin's new Pilot Super Sport ultra-high performance tire is now on the market.
Michelin's new Pilot Super Sport ultra-high performance tire is now on the market.

The company reports that engineers utilized “a full range of expertise from the leading international endurance races, in particular the 24 Hours of Le Mans” during the product-development phase, which was conducted with Porsche, BMW M Series and Ferrari.

“We believe we have created a tire that will win over the most demanding performance enthusiasts,” says Kip Newton, Michelin’s technical category manager.

“The ability to couple safety in extreme conditions with driving pleasure and excellent mileage is the result of a research and development commitment unrivaled in the tire industry,” he asserts.

“Sales of ultra-high performance vehicles are on the rise and are expected to increase more than 25 percent worldwide over the next five years,” says Newton. “Michelin has made a commitment to continue to lead the industry, exceeding the needs of the ultra-high performance consumer.”

Engineers focused on improving performance in several different areas, including endurance, safety and handling. To ensure that its latest-generation tire met the highest standards of safety, the company applied the same safety margins as those used in the civil aviation industry, according to Newton.

During testing, the tires covered more than 30,000 miles in low-grip conditions. They were evaluated on more than 62,000 miles of some of the world’s most demanding tracks, he notes.



In joint development with automobile manufacturers, the new release was tested for a total of 1,000 hours at more than 186 mph, “proving its superior level of high- speed endurance.”

The tire “sets a new pace” among racing professionals. “I was able to preview the Michelin Pilot Super Sport in Dubai, and from the moment I stepped on the brakes, I got it: This is the ultimate tire for any high performance vehicle,” says champion driver Gunnar Jeannette.

“With dry braking, the braking is instantly better, you turn the steering wheel and there is more response and better grip,” he observes.

“With wet handling, there is a huge night-and-day difference between Michelin Pilot Super Sport and its competitors, in both grip and feel,” says Jeannette.



The tire maker has combined three technologies, including two developed for tires at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: The Ceinture Twaron fiber belt as well as the Bi- Compound Tread and the Variable Contact Patch 2.0, both of which were derived from innovations proven in endurance racing, according to Newton.

Ceinture Twaron is a high-density fiber used in cutting-edge equipment for sports such as tennis, sailing and mountain biking as well as aeronautics, protective military gear and motorsports. It gives the tire superior high-speed stability, he says. Due to its variable tension, the belt tightens the tread more than the shoulders, more effectively overcoming centrifugal force and distributing pressure evenly. Originally developed for racing tires, the Bi-Compound Tread uses different rubber compounds on the left and right sides of the tread. On the outside, a carbon black-reinforced elastomer (developed specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans) ensures exceptional endurance when corners are tight. On the inside, a latest-generation, high-grip elastomer enables the tire to break through a wet surface and adhere to even the slightest irregularity in the road. Due to the latest digital-simulation software used in the aeronautics and automobile industries, pressure and, consequently, temperatures are spread evenly across the tire's contact patch via Variable Contact Patch 2.0 technology.

  • Although the patch’s shape changes when cornering, the amount of rubber in contact with the road remains the same.
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    Newton says the tire outperformed its five leading competitors in handling, longevity and dry braking in a test conducted in 2010 by TÜV SÜD, an independent testing organization.

    Other attributes cited by Newton include: Grip on dry surfaces: Tests showed a 1.6-second gain on a 1.7 mile closed-circuit track. Braking on dry surfaces: When decelerating from more than 60 mph to a full stop, braking distance was shortened by 5 feet. Grip on wet surfaces: Time was reduced by 2.5 seconds on a 2.5 mile closed-circuit track. Braking on wet roads: When decelerating from 50 to 6 mph, braking distance was shortened by ten feet. Total mileage on the track: 50 percent more laps.

  • Total mileage on the road: 10 percent greater distance.
  • In 2010, the tire received the Ferrari Technology Award and has already been approved by Ferrari for the 458 Italia and 599 GTO and by Alpina for the B5.

    For more information, visit www.michelinman.com./div>

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