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Thread: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport

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  1. Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Hi all,
    Below is my 1 day experience as a tyre tester for the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport.
    I began the day bright and early. I was rather reluctant to get up having returned from an epic 20-day roadtrip to Europe the night before. However what was instore that day was simply too mouth-watering to pass up Ė testing new tyres, driving super cars and being at Silverstone.
    Abit about myself, Iím from Singapore and presently working as an expat in the UK. Iím presently driving the Audi A6 3.0TDI. Iíve driven a range of cars since young. Got abit of petrol in my veins. Had some experience on track Ė in Malaysia (Sepang (Malaysia F1 track) and Pasir Gudang), Silverstone and recently Nurburgring. Started out with a small Toyota Starlet. Bought my first car which was a Mitsubishi Lancer, before moving on to the Subarus, the Honda Accord and now the Audi A6. In between, Iíve also driven various other cars, some on track days. Whilst driving these cars, Iíve also experimented with various types of tyres, from the budget ones (Hankook V12 Evo, Dunlop D01) to the premium ones (Continental CSC2, Bridgestone RE05, Toyo R888). Some on track, most on normal roads. So I do have some idea about tyres and also a little bit about pushing cars to the limit. Iíve always liked Michelin tyres. I tried a set of PS2 in the past and was really impressed by it. So I wanted to know how much better the new tyres were, given that they are touted to replace the PS2.
    Upon approaching the Porsche Driving Experience (PDE), there were welcoming banners advertising the launch of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport (PSS) and guarding the main entrance were the Lamborghini Balboni, Audi R8 and several models of Porsches. What a start to the day!
    I proceeded to register myself, got my driverís licence checked and tucked myself in to an excellent breakfast. I must say breakfast was delicious and excellent! It was a simple meal of scrambled eggs and bacon, but done to perfection!
    After breakfast, briefing about the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport commenced. First, Mr Janni (Head of Marketing) explained about the event and tyre. What was really impressive about Michelin tyres were the amount of R&D that went into it. For example, Michelin came up with the Twaron belt technology that holds the tyre together during high speed (as compared to the tyre bloating up) that ensures better stability and more controlled centrifugal force. They also have the dual compound technology where on the outside, the tyre has a carbon black-reinforced elastomer which increases the durability of the tyre during the hardest cornering and on the inside, the compound enables exceptional wet grip. All these may sound rather much of jargon to me, but what is really important is that 1) It enables the tyre to have exception dry/wet handling capabilities and 2) It is longer lasting (apparently they have tested and it gives double the amount of track time). Third technology was the variable contact patch where the tyre distributes forces and temperature more evenly throughout the tyre to enable a larger contact patch (which holds the car to the road vs. a possible crash).
    All these sound great, yes, but Iím a guy who needs to be proven than just given words and numbers. Show me how it works! So on to the tests itself. The group of testers were broken up into 4 different teams. I was allocated to the Ďredí team who started with the wet grip (Wet braking and wet cornering). First stop Ė wet braking. For this test, the car used was the BMW 3 series M-sport. One car would be fitted with the Michelin tyre, the other would be fitted with competitorís tyres (Iím not sure if I can quote the brand and make, but I would say itís a quality premium tyre). The car would be driven till 50mph, put on cruise control, before hitting the brakes really hard when reaching a marker. There are GPS devices on board that would tell you how far you have braked. First I went on the car with the competitorís tyres. Floored it and hit 50mph, then hit the brakes hard Ė 28m. Not bad. Had a second go where I did 29m. After that I swapped over to the car with the Michelin tyres and repeated the routine. Interestingly, the cruise control didnít work as well and I ended up with 30m. Repeated this again and yet again, the cruise control didnít work and I ended up with 30m Ė not great. Though the distance calculated didnít show it, but I felt more confident in the braking and the grip of the tyre in the wet. I have a feeling that I was faster than 50mph when I hit the brakes. Also, when I was accelerating hard, the tyres felt more planted and gripped really well.

    Next stop, the wet cornering. For this test, I tested on an Audi TT and drove the car in circles, gradually increasing the speed. This is where I really felt the benefit of the PSS. Comparing against the competitorís tyres, the PSS really held the car magnificently well when the car was cornering fast on a wet track. The other tyre was already giving way at lower speed whereas the PSS continued to hold onto the road. Simply awesome! Iím sold!
    Next test was the ĎDriving controlí. Here, I had to take a car through a Kick Plate and through a low friction area. For the kick plate, Porsche have created a surface similar to sheet ice Ė very slippery. I had to drive through the slippery surface and there will be a plate that will move to the left or right to throw the car into a spin. From there, I would need to control the spin. For the first test, I was driving the Porsche C4S. Iím already impressed with the car. Iím more impressed when I put the car through the kick plate. On my first run, I went into a spin. However I was able to control the car and not spin so violently, I must attribute this to the tyres. After some advice from the instructor (to continue to add throttle to the car), I went on my second run and managed to control the spin. Through continuing to put throttle, I managed to control the car into a controlled drift and then went back to the straight line. Simply amazing! This would keep me alive during winter conditions! After that I changed into the Porsche GTS. Slightly different given that itís a rear wheel driven car. However given that it has the same grippy tyres, I managed to control the car in the skid pan. Next I drove the car through a Low Friction Area. Thatís where I really felt the tyres gripping so excellently even though the grip condition was poor. I came to a point where I was confident enough to throw the car into corners very hard and still surviving it! Impressive!

    After the two tests, I was treated to an excellent lunch at PDE. Itís almost dining at a Michelin star (full pun intended) restaurant. Food was tasty and very well presented. Wonít go into much detail about lunch given that this is not a food write-up!
    After lunch was the ĎHuman Performanceí test Ė having a go at Playstation 3 (PS3), Ďdrivingí a Porsche around the Silverstone track. I have no hope in the world coming up against people who spent pretty much their youth/adulthood on PS3. Next, the group were ushered into a room and briefed about the physiology and training of a modern day driver. Here, the group had a chance to test our reaction at the ĎBatakí test. This was very interesting because it tested eye to hand coordination. One would stand just behind this apparatus which has buttons all over. When the button lights up, you would need to touch it. If one managed to touch it on time, it will be registered. I had 2 tries. The second try would normally be better than the first Ė given that oneís mind would adjust to react faster. Iím proud to say that I achieved Ď39í, the fourth highest for the day.
    Last test was the dry handling test. This was the most interesting and exciting one of all. I had the opportunity to drive 2 Porsche 911 cars on the track and pushed it to the maximum. This test was what really sold me about the PSS. On competitorís tyres, whilst I had the confidence to take corners hard and power out of the corners, they donít seem to hold the track as well. I could feel the rear wheel kicking out occasionally and had to control my drift alittle. On the PSS, it simply grips like the car is on rail. Simply breathtaking and amazing. Each lap, I tested the braking point even further Ė going nearer and nearer to the barriers before making the corner and the tyres held on. It is even further than what I would have tried on the PS2 Ė which simply told me how much grip the PSS had.
    To end the day, I had a passenger ride with a professional driver on the super cars. There were 4 cars to ride in Ė the Lamborghini Balboni, Audi R8, Porsche 911 turbo S and the BMW M3. I was lucky to get the Porsche 911 Ė because the driver was so comfortable in the car and pushed it really hard. The laps he did were extremely fast and at some points, he did some drifts. It was a simply exhilarating ride. More importantly to me, it also showed how much this tyre can be pushed and the level of grip it has. As much as Iím a PS2 fan, this tyre is really something special. Whatís also worth mentioning is the durability of the tyres Ė after bringing 30-odd people on passenger rides and pushing the cars really hard, the wear on the tyres are minimal. I would have thought that the tyres would have been badly chewed up by now. Simply amazing!

    All in, it was a fantastic day out. Michelin and Porsche staff took great care of all the participants. What really impressed me were the PSS tyres. Iím not saying this because Michelin chose me for this event, but I honestly believe in spreading the word about its performance. Simply outstanding! Iím not sure how much it would be marketed for, however I would say if you are someone who enjoys driving and pushing your car (within legal limits please), this would be a great set of tyres to have. Some people will be pressured by budget to buy a lesser tyre; however you get what you pay for - a significant reduction in road holding and braking performance. The reason why Michelin tyres cost so much is because of the amount of R&D put into it. Letís take the example of wet braking, of the circa 30 people who attended the event, almost everyone had a wet braking distance that is 3-10m less in the PSS compared to premium tyres. That is the distance and inertia that you would carry if you need to brake hard which could be the differentiating factor between safety or crash, life or death. There are also other areas such as cornering performance and high speed performance that is equally important to me Ė because thatís differentiating me making a corner or hitting the crash board on track. I hope this review was useful. I'm trying to figure out how to post the pictures.
     
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  2. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Cracking review and very informative - thanks for taking the time to write it all up
    06 (my2006) Passat Estate 2.0 TDI SE 140bhp (BKP110710), MFD2, Premium Phone, 6CD Multichanger, MFSW, 4 new injectors!!!
     
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  3. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Hey guys,

    I'm trying to figure out how to add photos here to add colour to the story. Sorry but I'm really quite an idiot on this front here...

    Cheers.
     
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  4. #4
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    Create a photobucket account, upload the pictures to that and paste the IMG links Simples

    What was the best car you drove?
    Last edited by Chris; 20-05-2011 at 07:20 AM.
     
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  5. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    I was there aswell. I think the best car I drove was the Carrera GTS but but the one where I felt the most difference between the the Michelins and the others was the straight line brake test in the BMW.
    2005 S4 Cab
    2000 A8 W12 ABT Tuned
     
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  6. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulevard View Post
    I was there aswell. I think the best car I drove was the Carrera GTS but but the one where I felt the most difference between the the Michelins and the others was the straight line brake test in the BMW.
    Pics pics pics?!
     
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  7. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Quote Originally Posted by A6_Chris View Post
    Pics pics pics?!
    Here are some from the day.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/szgr/se...7626549171415/
    2005 S4 Cab
    2000 A8 W12 ABT Tuned
     
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  8. Re: Review of Michelin Pilot Super Sport 
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    Here are some pictures taken of that day.

    The first photo was taken of the BMW at the wet brake test.

    The second photo was taken of the Porsche Turbo S during my passenger ride.

    The third was the star of the day - the Michelin Pilot super sport.

    The fourth photo was taken of the Audi TT where we did the wet cornering test.

    The last one was the car I drove around the track - The GTS. This is the one I liked alot too though my favorite is the 4S because I'm more of a AWD person where I like the traction powering out of corners.
    Attached Images
     
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