Are tires the most important part of a car? It depends on who you are talking to, but one thing is certain. It does not matter what is done under the hood, in the greenhouse or under the skin, it does not matter if there is not a good connection with the road. Tire Reviews on YouTube has demonstrated time and time again that not all tires are created equal, and in this latest video, that conclusion holds true among hardcore track tires.
Specifically, the video compares the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 with the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport RS and the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R. Generally speaking, these are the top level tires that people will consider for track events. and as such, they all tested on Michelin’s own test track in France. To ensure that the tires are properly driven, the test vehicle is a right-of-turn Porsche 911 GT3 RS. And boy do they do a workout.
Two sets of tires were used in this comprehensive assessment. One set was devoted to wet driving, wet braking and dry braking. The other round was strictly for dry riding, evaluated over several laps to measure the initial grip of the first lap and subsequent laps once the tires were warm. And if you think Michelin is getting the automatic victory because the test is carried out on the company track, think again.
We will leave all the details to the video, as there is certainly a lot to be said. Overall, the Michelins and Goodyears were quite similar in wet conditions, displaying a bit more understeer due to the hydroplaning up front. The Pirelli tires had the opposite problem – hydroplaning in the rear which required a bit more sawing at the wheel, but despite that, the Pirellis had a more manageable feel. For this reason, the Pirellis recorded better wet lap times than the others. Wet braking was also better.
In dry conditions, that’s another story. The Michelins felt sharper and had immense grip, ultimately returning the best lap times in the group for both the first lap and the follow-up laps. The Goodyears were in second – in fact, the initial lap was identical to the Michelins. But times got steeper on the follow-up laps, the tires feeling less secure on the road. The Pirellis were the slowest of the group, but they also had the best characteristics appreciated by pilots. They felt predictable and manageable, which translates into more driver confidence to push the limits and have fun.
The braking awards also went to Michelin, although all three tires had similar performance. As with handling, the Pirellis came in third, but only by a slim margin, and with more heat in the tires, they actually outperformed the Goodyears.
So what’s the verdict? It should be noted that Michelin and Goodyear developed their tires with the 911 GT3 RS in mind. In that sense, these are stock tires and it shows with the default understeer in wet conditions and sharper characteristics in the dry. As for the Pirelli, they had the best wet performance with the slowest dry times, but were easier to handle in all conditions. You could say that they are not optimized for the GT3 RS, but the end result is something more comfortable and manageable.