After three-and-a-half years on the job, I finally got the call I was waiting for: a chance to be a Tire Rack tire tester! Along with other members of the Tire Rack marketing team, this was OUR opportunity to get behind the wheel of our test BMWs and develop our own opinions on tire performance and truly understand what it takes to get our findings out to our customers.
Having already experienced the Real World Road Ride portion of our tests, I was prepared to look for a tires’ ride, noise and light handling qualities across a variety of conditions. The second part of testing, the Performance Test Track Drives, occurs on our track, and was what I had been waiting all these years to do.
We can see the track from our offices in marketing, we thought we knew what to expect, we were both nervous and excited. As one of our designers said, “I see our testers driving faster than I would want to go. The unfamiliarity of driving another’s car with someone else riding alongside me makes me uncomfortable.”
No worries. We weren't going to be competitive. (The photo at right proves we did take it pretty seriously though)
We got into the cars, we were told to drive at a level that made us comfortable. What made ALL of us comfortable was driving on the set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The tire allowed us to feel like we were in control of the car and have some fun behind the wheel as we slalomed a few cones, took some turns at speed and navigated the skid pad (And did I mention this was all done while our track's sprinkler system kept the course covered in water?). When it came to the Sumitomo Touring LS T tires we also tested, it was a completely different story. We were able to feel the vast difference in performance and gain a deeper respect for the testers out there all season doing what they do while listening to the car and the tires so they can accurately report on performances wins and losses.
Here's my rookie review of the two tires.
When driving on the Pilot Super Sports, I felt as if I could driver faster and take turns at speeds I typically don’t, as the tire gave me that much confidence. Now on the Sumitomo, I was braking much sooner to prepare for a turn. If I didn’t I would end up in the grass (even though I didn’t end up in the grass, I can’t say the same for some of my co-workers).
We didn't do a full test on the wet and dry course. And we're by no means expert testers like our sales specialists (who are our test drivers). But rest assured, you're in good hands when you're relying on the test results you read on the tires we offer. Our testers do this all season long and they've got my respect. And trust.