P-Zero is even wider after three decades
Tire manufacturers undoubtedly have the most unfavorable part in the development of the automotive industry and its suppliers. The coveted positions of the original equipment manufacturers are only awarded twice for a vehicle. At every start and every facelift of a vehicle, the scramble is great, because afterwards, with a valid homologation, the sale of the developed tire is only possible through the trade or accessories trade. The fact that Pirelli continues to shine as the market leader in many segments is of course largely due to the good work of its engineers. But the commitment as the sole supplier to the premier class of motorsport, Formula 1, which has now lasted for years, has also opened many doors to a global car manufacturer for the Italians. In the spring of this year, Pirelli presented its newly redesigned flagship, the P-Zero. With its Perfect Fit strategy, Pirelli wants to counteract the increasing demands of automobile manufacturers in the categories of performance, reliability and safety.
30 years development experience
In the past, Italian engineers were able to cover the needs of car manufacturers with a single tire. With the advent of digitization and networking, of course, the demands on the most important connection of every vehicle with the road, the tire, increased. With its Perfect Fit strategy, Pirelli now combines three different tire types after more than three decades of continuous development. On the one hand, more and more modern sports cars are demanding lower rolling resistance and better handling on both dry and wet roads. With innovative chemical / mechanical compounds as well as a new tread pattern with deeper longitudinal grooves of the footprint, this has been achieved by the engineers located in the Odenwald. Deeper and wider longitudinal channels boost performance up to 10 percent, especially for aquaplaning. Here is also an improved braking performance in wet possible. To ensure this performance even at higher speeds, Pirelli uses its own development of the formula 1. In the area of the bead, a particularly firm and inflexible compound is used, which allows a fast and precise steering action. In addition, the power limit should be gradually achieved, which should increase driving pleasure with maximum safety. A flatter footprint of the P-Zero not only increases the tire's longevity, but maintains the consistently high performance level until the end of its cycle.
With the second variant of the P-Zero, the Italians serve the tread pattern of a sedan. The bumps of the road and thus unpleasant blows for all vehicle occupants begins the P-Zero with deep grooves of the external shoulder. The ride comfort is to be increased many times over.
The customer with a high-end sports car will certainly make the connection to the road with the third copy of the P-Zero. The profile design was developed by Pirelli very aggressive and comes very close to that of a slick from motorsport.
Tested on the racetrack
A few days ago, a small group of invited journalists were able to calmly test the properties of the new P-Zero presented in theory at the Audi Driving Experience Center in Neuburg ad Donau. In the A4 Avant and TTS on a watered surface, we were able to see how close theory and practice are to one another. Different exercises were simulated with both vehicles, in which the tire could develop its full power and we could always brake the vehicles to the point and allow the cars to be maneuvered comfortably around objects. On the third vehicle, the R8 V10 Plus with 610 hp with the P-Zero and its slick character, we never had the feeling that we were overwhelmed by the vehicle and ourselves. Thanks to the Pirelli, the car stayed on the track lap after lap and only wore out at the end of the training session due to the high number of kilometers with different drivers.
And finally ...
Undoubtedly, Pirelli will expand its supremacy of OEMs in both the Formula 1 and higher-end vehicles. Not everyone will be able to afford both these vehicles and the associated tires. The next business segment would remain open for tire developers from Italy.
Test and image: Stefan Beckmann