When one thinks about tire design, one usually thinks about tread pattern. For those willing to dig a little bit deeper, tread compound and internal construction are at least as important to a tire's performance. How about the design of the letters on the sidewall? Purely cosmetic, right?
Not so, says Dunlop. Their research and testing indicates that the raised letters on the side of the tire contributes to turbulence around the tire. This disruption of the airflow creates drag, increasing the overall air resistance the vehicle must overcome to maintain its speed or accelerate.
With these findings, the new Dunlop Sport Maxx RT has all of its sidewall lettering indented below the surface of the sidewall rather than raised above it. This creates a smoother surface that minimizes turbulence around the tire. How much of a difference will this make? Likely not enough to be noticed by a driver at normal road speeds. However, any extra efficiency is good from a performance and fuel economy point of view.
Also, it doesn't hurt that the design yields a sleek, high-tech appearance for the tire's sidewall. The driver gets some added functional benefits that he or she may not notice, while gaining the very visible benefit of a modern-looking, attractive tire.
View the full-screen image of the tire to see the distinctive sidewall design.