Pirelli has sighted learnings made from their work on the development of Formula 1 tyres as a key element of creating their latest P Zero high-performance road tyre. Pirelli s the exclusive provider of tyres for Formula 1 and is constantly required to innovate on tyre technology to achieve the immense speeds and reliability required for the top-end of motorsport.
When it comes to the top performing road cars, spending up big on the rubber that connects the car to the road can yield big benefits in speed, handling and road noise. We also need to remember than many of the vehicle owners with deep enough pockets to own one of the top-end sports cars, also enjoy some time at the track and its there that the high-speed performance and handling count the most.
Its now 30 years since the very first P Zero appeared, and Pirelli is now launching their latest version. This time around, the focus is to meet the growing demand for performance, reliability and safety, and to reinforce Pirelli’s Perfect Fit strategy, which means a made to measure tyre for each model of car.
Extreme technology for bespoke tyres
The P Zero represents the most advanced technology from Pirelli’s renowned research division, which integrates a multiplicity of technical solutions from the Italian firm’s engineers, in close collaboration with their counterparts from the world’s leading car manufacturers. By closely matching advanced technology, processes and materials with the specific requirements of each new car during the design phase, Pirelli is able to supply bespoke tyres for every individual model.
The new P Zero is the best performing tyre currently on the market, as well as the most reliable when it comes to handling the extreme power of modern supercars. This is thanks to new underlayer compounds to improve handling and rolling resistance, innovative polymers with advanced mechanical properties to optimise performance in both wet and dry conditions, and an innovative tread pattern design with deeper longitudinal grooves to expel more water.
F1 Bead, a racing-inspired bead for Formula One-style handling
The overriding hallmark of the new P Zero is its ability to guarantee maximum stability even at the highest speeds: just as the equivalent Formula One tyres do at the pinnacle of motorsport. The F1 Bead technology within the new P Zero is directly derived from Formula One, utilising an especially rigid compound within the bead area that allows a more rapid and precise steering response, avoiding any unexpected loss of lateral grip.
The F1 Bead technology means that the forces at work on the bead and sidewall are more evenly distributed, which consequently reduces any drop-off in performance and also enhances the integrity of the structure when subjected to high loads and speeds.
As a result, tyre behaviour is more linear and predictable, with the limit of performance reached in a gradual way. This leaves the driver free to experience the enjoyment of sporting performance in complete safety.
Extended Range Profile: more even wear and top performance throughout the life of the tyre
P Zero breaks new ground when it comes to durability as well, with not only a long tyre life but also more consistent performance throughout the entire life cycle. By making the footprint flatter thanks to the Extended Range Profile, Pirelli’s engineers have been able to ensure that wear becomes more even, which extends the tyre’s useful life and ultimately saves every driver money.
Complete safety even in wet conditions
The increase in the number of tread pattern grooves as well as deeper and wider channels on the surface means that lateral aquaplaning performance has been improved, leading to a 10% increase in water expulsion capacity. This all adds up to safer and more stable braking in wet conditions.
The quiet tyre
The specific design of the tread pattern was also conceived to reduce noise heard in the cabin, improving driving comfort. The way that the transverse grooves are arranged, in a deliberately out of order sequence, disrupts the noise generated by air percussion, distributing sound over a number of different frequencies and so minimising its volume.
Rolling resistance cut by 15%
The combination of new modelling techniques that have optimised the profile of the mould, together with a reduction in weight and introduction of materials high in silica content (more than 80%) has led to a 15% reduction in rolling resistance. This has obvious benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption.
Born with its own portfolio
Dream cars such as the Lamborghini Centenario, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, the Mercedes GT AMG and the Porsche Boxter already come equipped with the new P Zero – which has been created in a number of targeted versions to suit the technical requirements and unique characteristics of each car.
Three models, just one name
The P Zero has just one name but it is produced in three individual technical variants, with different applications and performance levels: each one designed for a specific type of car. For cars with a more sporting character there is a less sculpted tread pattern design, which is intended to favour more dynamic and sports orientated performance.
The second tread design is more appropriate for saloon cars, thanks to an external shoulder that is more deeply grooved and designed to better absorb each impact with the road surface, enhancing the comfort that is an important part of these cars. Finally, the third design is a lot more aggressive, coming close to the slick tyres seen in motorsport: this has been created for the new P Zero Corsa. So each type of car has its own special type of P Zero. And this is at the very heart of Pirelli’s Perfect Fit strategy.
Back in 1987 the introduction of the first 17-inch road tyre by Pirelli was seen as an innovation, but today the range extends all the way to 22 inches in order to cope with increasingly powerful envelopes of performance. Even within this range the offering is wider and more specific still, with winter, summer and All Season tyres also available as part of Pirelli’s line-up. And that’s without going further into the many technologies incorporated within these tyres, from Run Flat to Seal Inside, as well as PNCS (Pirelli Noise Cancelling System): technology introduced by Pirelli to reduce in-car noise.
There are also more and more alternative materials, which are the subject of non-stop research: from rice grains to guayule. And then there are different tread patterns as well: each one designed to complement the unique characteristics of every model. Finally there are branded tyres, which denote that each tyre has been specifically developed for an individual car.
Pirelli’s very latest product remains P Zero. And it’s equally appropriate that Pirelli has chosen the Estoril circuit in Portugal, the former home of the Portuguese Grand Prix, for its world debut. Pirelli’s new ultra high performance product is directly derived from advanced motorsport experience, now carefully adapted to the needs of the everyday motorist