“I want great performance in wet and dry conditions. I want a comfortable, long lasting tire that responds with cat-like reflexes. I also want to be able to use this tire year round, even in cold winter months.” This is all too often a request from our customers. They want a tire that can do it all.
Although, a “Do All” tire has yet to be created (and may never be), tire manufacturers continue to push the all-season tire category to try and meet consumers ever widening demands. With the launch of Michelin’s newest all-season, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, Michelin is proving that they hear the customer’s voice and are “racing” to meet their demands.
A chili December morning wasn’t the only thing waiting to meet us at the new Nola Motorsports Park just outside of New Orleans, LA. Michelin had completely taken over the complex to showcase their latest Ultra High Performance All-Season tire, the Pilot Sport A/S 3. Before we hit the track Michelin revealed some key improvements, much of which has been developed through their racing programs.
(Content Courtesy of Michelin USA)
- Tread Design: The asymmetric tread design places more rubber and rigid blocks on the outside shoulder of the tire to provide high levels of lateral grip. Unlike previous generations, the asymmetric design allows greater flexibility for tire rotations and exhibits less noise as the tires wear over time. Combined with biting edges in tread grooves, which aid traction in snow, drivers experience better acceleration and braking in all conditions.
- Variable Contact Patch 2.0 (VCP 2.0): Improving dry and wet grip plus wear, VCP 2.0 is one of the key technologies derived from Michelin’s experience in endurance racing. VCP 2.0 focuses on evenly spreading contact patch pressures and temperatures regardless of the driving situation, helping maintain the structural shape of the tire contact patch and allowing drivers to get extraordinary performance (cornering, braking, accelerating) and tread life. First introduced with the MICHELIN Pilot Super Sport tire, the MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport A/S 3 is the first application of the VCP 2.0 technology in an all-season MICHELIN® tire.
- Compound Breakthroughs: Special silica in the tread compound provides breakthrough levels of wet performance. First tested and proven in endurance racing, this marks the first time extreme silica technology has been used in the all-season category. When combined with Michelin’s Helio CompoundTM, a natural, biodegradable material derived from sunflower oil, the compound materials in the MICHELIN Pilot Sport A/S 3 provide better grip at low temperatures plus cold weather mobility.
- 3-D Variable Thickness Sipe Technology™ (VTS™): VTS allows the use of more sipes for adverse road conditions (wet and snow) without giving up handling and wear performance. The unique, self-supporting construction provides biting edges when traction is needed most and locks together under stress for greater tread block rigidity. This is the first application of the technology in an all-season MICHELIN® UHP tire.
All technical jargon aside, the truth to any tire’s performance is revealed while under your control so we were eager to get out and test the Pilot Sport A/S 3 for ourselves. Four tests were set up: Wet and Dry Braking, High Speed Road Course, Wet Autocross Course, and a Dry Autocross Course.