Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres explained
Released in 2011, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyre was developed to provide the holy grail of tyre performance: ultimate driving experience combined with maximum safety and superior longevity.
In order to do this, Michelin had to draw on its vast motorsport heritage, including its 19 victories at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
However, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyre was also the result of Michelin’s unrivalled R&D commitment. The French tyre manufacturer allocates nearly €500 million a year to its Michelin Technology Centre facility.
Developed in conjunction with a range of high-performance car manufacturers, including Porsche, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport combines three technologies unique to Michelin.
The first of these innovations is the Twaron® belt. This high-density fibre (often used in military applications) is used to provide a variable tension belt. This allows the tread to be tighter than the Michelin Pilot Super Sport’s shoulders.
The result of this is a tyre that distributes pressure more evenly, while retaining a belt that is five times more resistant than steel, at the equivalent weight.
First used in the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 in 2003, the Pilot Super Sport is constructed of a dual compound tread. The outside edge uses a carbon black-reinforced elastomer (developed especially for the 24 Hours of Le Mans).
This provides exceptional endurance, while the high-grip elastomer on the inside edge provides unrivalled grip and wet-weather adhesion.
The final development in the Michelin Pilot Super Sport is its second-generation variable contact patch. Using the latest simulation software, Michelin has managed to design a contact patch that, despite changing shape during cornering, retains the same surface area on the Tarmac.
The result is a tyre that has survived 50,000km tests while enduring extreme loading, as well as more than 1000 hours of running at over 300kph. However, as well as endurance, the Pilot Super Sports also reduce braking distances from 100kph by 1.5 metres (compared to the PS2).
Most importantly for driving enthusiasts though is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport’s ability to lap 1.5 seconds faster than the PS2 around the same 2.7-kilometre circuit in dry conditions.
With the Pilot Super Sport, Michelin appears to have developed a tyre where you can truly have it all. For more information on Michelin’s tyre range, head to their website now.