Super Tire: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, July 15, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Michelin Pilot Super SportI recently had the opportunity to test the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport on our test track and on the road. The Pilot Super Sport is Michelin's newest Max Performance Summer tire; however after the test drive, I can tell you this tire is definitely going to push the limits of the category. Developed for the world's most sophisticated performance vehicles and as a direct replacement to the venerable Pilot Sport PS2, the Pilot Super Sport exceeds the PS2 in wet and dry traction, handling, durability and tread life.
 
Michelin has always had a great reputation for building tires with excellent road manners. The Pilot Super Sport continues this tradition. It features a polyester cord body to promote a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Smooth and quiet are the order of the day, kind of like Clark Kent. Clark Kent was a mild-mannered reporter for the "Daily Planet," but as his alter ego, Superman, he was "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

I like to describe to my customers the great combination of road manners and handling characteristics of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." The Pilot Super Sport is the like PS2 on steroids.

The Pilot Super Sport was a direct result of technology developed in the demanding world of endurance racing. By building longer wearing racing tires without sacrificing performance, Michelin's tires allowed teams to run record race paces while converting some of the time previously spent changing tires in the pits into productive time covering more miles on the track. Ultimately resulting in bringing home race victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring and Road Atlanta's Petit Lemans, just to name a few. 

These race victories also led to the development of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 to improve footprint pressure distribution, which in turn aids handling and improves treadlife. A tire's contact patch is the only connection between the road and the vehicle. The size and shape of the contact patch, as well as the pressure distribution within the contact patch are important to the ride qualities and handling characteristics of a vehicle. Because pneumatic tires are flexible, the contact patch is different when the vehicle is in motion from when it is static.

What I liked best about the tire was the crisp steering response, its wet and dry grip and great on-center feel. These factors were very evident as I was coaching young drivers during the Tire Rack Street Survival Teen Driving School. One of the participants, driving his father's car, just happened to have the Pilot Super Sports installed. We have the students drive on our test track around several obstacles and on the skid pad to get a feel for the limits of the car and their tires. One of the techniques we employ late in the day, when confidence has been building, is to induce a little oversteer on the wet skid pad to see how well the students react. No matter how hard I tried I could not induce oversteer in this car on these tires.

While the Pilot Super Sport may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it is fast, it is strong and it is every bit the super tire Michelin said it would be.

  • Better handling - Inspired by the same engineering that has powered 13 consecutive victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Longer lasting - Optimized through technology of Variable Contact Patch 2.0 and Twaron belt package for long, even wear.
  • Better braking - Bi-compound delivers excellent dry braking using LeMans-inspired compound on the outer shoulder and the latest generation of wet-oriented elastomers on the inner portion of the tread.
  • Lighter weight - Pilot Super Sport tires are comparatively light, with weight savings of up to 10% compared to other tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve handling.
At the 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America. The overall champion and the winner of  both the wet and dry skidpad challenge were riding on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Born from endurance racing, Michelin Pilot Super Sport gives you the exhilaration of driving the best performing street tire in the world. It truly is a super tire. No phone booth required.

Comments on Super Tire: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 by John Smith:
I just read the "heavy hitters" test report on this tire, and was pleased to see a fuel consumption test included. However, the stops and starts in your test method obscure the differences between tires, because most of the fuel is consumed in this part of the test and the amount varies little between tires. You could save yourselves a lot of effort and get a more meaningful result by a simple coast-down test. With some one-time calibration study, the result could be expressed in highway mpg. (Presently running Conti DW on 2008 Accord. Can't use Michelins because Honda and Michelin seem to be conspiring to exclude max performance fitments for my car.)

Leave a comment





Captcha