Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Super Tyre - P Zero


In the ultra-high performance stakes where only the best will do, the new P Zero rocks. It showed its mettle at the F1-ready Dubai Autodrome.

It was a super tyre developed specifically for a super car which helped define performance parameters of the time, the F40 becoming the first street-legal production car to break the 200mph (322kph) barrier.

Come play with me: Pirelli P Zero the Hero is the centre of attention as a Porsche Boxster using the tyres zooms by at the Dubai Autodrome.The P Zero has since become THE reference point for all super car tyres and today the list of cars bearing that name as original equipment reads like the who's who in the world of automotive performance – Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, AMG, Maserati – to name a few.

The latest generation of Pirelli's new flagship ultra high performance tyre, launched in Dubai last year, promises to take things to a new level.
The 370kph rated tyre, which the company affectionately dubs “P Zero the Hero”, is a product of the company's experience in competition and its introduction coincides with Pirelli's motorsport centenary.

“It represents the state of the art of the P Zero collection. The new tyre has been designed and developed to control the ever-more-extreme performance of super cars and to offer even higher levels of driving satisfaction and safety for the most demanding drivers,” Pirelli CEO Francesco Gori told motoring journalists at the launch.

A bagful of patents and acronyms accompanies this fourth generation P Zero, which took two years to develop.

The bevy of high-performance machines are raring to go, too.Its principal feature is that it guarantees optimum performance in wet or dry conditions throughout the lifetime of the tyre, while combining sports handling with comfort.

To that end, there are special nano-composites in the compounds of the tread and the bead (the element of the tyre anchoring it to the wheel rim) that give thermoplastic stability for a comfortable ride without jeopardising the tyre’s performance in extreme driving.

An innovative tread pattern allows very high grip in wet conditions and lower noise while an asymmetric profile DA.Co (Dynamic Asymmetric Contour) promises even wear with a consistent footprint at all speeds.
The tread design combines three wide longitudinal grooves for water elimination with large, rigid shoulder blocks for good cornering performance.

Thanks to a hybrid cord system, the tyre carcass allows the deformation of the tyre profile to be controlled through to the highest speeds increasing the durability of the tyre. That extends not just to outright mileage, but in the consistency of performance throughout its life.

It has been said that the old P-Zeros needed a bit of warming up before they gave their best.

Pirelli says that thanks to the new tread compound in P Zero the Hero, optimum performance is available even during the first few kilometres of driving when the tyre is still cold.

Make the rubber squeal
At the 5.3km Dubai Autodrome – an FIA certified track which is home to the final round of the FIA GT Championship, we sampled the new P Zeros in a variety of conditions. And it was in a sumptuous buffet of performance cars put at our disposal – AMG 63 variants of the Mercedes S and CLK -classes, CLS 500, Audi TT and S8, Porsche Boxsters and 911 Carreras, MINI Coopers and some BMWs.

Beyond merely having very high levels of grip, the handling of the new P Zeros were one of the strongest traits.

In the dry, the P Zeros felt very precise and responsive under the various test cars.
The car follows its intended line when pushed around corners but push harder and it holds it without requiring too much change of steering angle. Cross the threshold and the grip gives way progressively.

There was a sharp and smooth reaction of the car to sudden lane changes.
Most of all, the new P Zeros seem to have the ability to fully exploit the phenomenal acceleration and braking potential of the most powerful cars available – something that was further borne out during some hot laps in a Lamborghini Murcialago and Ferrari 599GTB Fiorano with a professional racing driver.

In the wet pan, where the new P Zero was pitted against a leading European competitor on an Audi TT, the Pirellis came out with noticeably more bite. The sense of contact with the ground was more reassuring and when push came to shove, the car's rear end was breaking away more progressively.
Those in the exclusive club of demanding motorists who drive or own sports cars at the very top end of the market know that to get a car to respond to all your demands on the road, you have to know it well and as five time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio puts it “help it express its personality”

In the hardware stakes, tyres play a big role in that equation and it's an area where the new P Zero adds a new dimension to your driving.
You don't necessarily have to plonk down over a million ringgit on a super car to experience the P Zeros. They are also made for a number of premium cars and if you'd like to give your more affordable car a treat, your dealer might be able to find you a size.

They are far from cheap but you get what you pay for – as many owners of high-end, high-performance cars will attest. It is a product that comes from 100 years of motorsports involvement, made by a tyre company that spends more on R&Dthan any other.

The new P Zero is currently made in more than 33 sizes ranging from rim size of 16-20 inches.

More sizes are being planned in near future although at present, locally available sizes are limited due to strong worldwide demand.

Pirelli assures, however, that efforts are in place to make available the complete range here in a few months.

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