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Pirelli lights up new P Zero
Next-gen Pirelli P Zero gives road cars the F1 look
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11 Apr 2016
By DANIEL GARDNER in ESTORIL, PORTUGAL
PIRELLI is celebrating 30 years of its P Zero performance flagship with a new range of even more capable bespoke rubber to sit at the top of the performance pile above the existing 2007 P Zero, which continues alongside the new models unchanged.
Launching globally this month, the new P Zero range will consist of three variants including the new Corsa version, which represents the highest performance tyre offered by the Italian brand, with a near-slick tread pattern that is aimed firmly at dry race tracks.
In addition to the Corsa’s new longer-lasting compound, greater temperature-range resistance and lower rolling-resistance, from the fourth quarter of 2016, customers will be able to order their Corsa tyre sets with a Formula One-inspired coloured sidewall for the ultimate customised look.
Initially offered in red or yellow, it is expected the range will expand to cover all colours that an F1 car wears with blue, green, orange and white joining the range. The conspicuous decoration highlights the P Zero brand in the customers chosen colour, along with a continuous band of colour around the sidewall.
Working with various car-makers, Pirelli has already produced 60 homologated P Zero models and with more on the way, the new colour options have dramatically increased the number of stock items held by the tyre-maker, posing a new logistical challenge.
While its more orthodox unpainted sidewall range will be stocked around Australia and the world, due to the huge number of possible size and colour combinations, the tyre-maker will likely provide the new option for order only.
Pirelli is working with the various homologated brands to allow customers to add a colour Corsa to the list of options when ordering a new car, and expects takers to order a spare set at the time of purchase, but the unique tyres will also be available on an order basis to existing high-performance car owners.
Pricing will be announced closer to the new range’s arrival and is dependent on the numerous wheel rim diameters and aspect ratios on offer, but customers are expected to be charged a premium over the more conventional black wall Corsa.
Underneath the highest-performance P Zero is the the intermediate range, which offers P Zero dynamic capability with an added level of day-to-day usability with a longer-lasting compound and greater water clearing tread pattern.
Pirelli says the mid-range P Zero “has a less sculpted tread pattern, which is intended to favour more dynamic and sports-orientated performance”.
Finally, the P Zero range also offers a number of fitments for “more appropriate for saloon (sedan) cars” with a different shoulder design which focuses more on road imperfection absorption for greater comfort.
As well as the more obvious F1 connection displayed on the sidewall of select versions, the new P Zero has invisible Formula One technology hidden under the new compound, with the F1 Bead lifted directly from the racecar tyre.
According to Pirelli, the round-section bead offers greater structural integrity and stability during high-speed manoeuvres, as well as the aggressive braking and acceleration characteristics of the most potent road cars.
The Extended Range Profile engineering maintains a flatter footprint throughout the tyre’s life and ensures a more even wear that extends the life of the tyre, while more pronounced water channels have improved P Zero water clearance by 10 per cent.
Like most modern tyres, the P Zero’s dependence on natural rubber has been continually reduced with very little latex remaining in the special compound formula. Silica content is now more than 80 per cent, which has added to a weight reduction for a 15 per cent improved rolling resistance.
Pirelli likens its new P Zero to a modern smartphone that can be updated with applications. While the range of tyres can be purchased in “basic” form, the company offers a number of features to tailor the tyre for a customer’s specific requirements.
The Pirelli Noise Cancellation System (PNCS), which has been adopted by some car-makers including Audi, introduces a polyurethane foam insert inside the tyre to dampen some of the vibrations that are transmitted to the cabin.
A reduction of two or three decibels may not sound like a significant advantage, but Pirelli says that reduction represents a halving of noise levels originating from the tyre.
Like previous generations, Pirelli’s Run Flat system is still available for the P Zero, which has a sidewall structure that is strong enough to support the vehicle’s weight if the internal pressure is lost through a puncture, but the company’s Seal Inside innovation offers an alternative for where the Run Flat is not suitable.
The special tyre appears as any other when examined internally and externally, but the unique construction contains a layer of sealing “mousse” which automatically seals multiple punctures of up to 4mm.
Speaking to GoAuto at the 2016 Pirelli P Zero launch in Portugal, Pirelli global general operations manager Gregorio Borgo said the company is always exploring new technology, particularly “total mobility” for increased convenience and safety, in addition to high-performance improvements.
“We believe a lot in the total mobility technology,” he said. “One is the Run Flat and the other we believe in a lot is the Seal Inside.
“It’s a technology Volkswagen is introducing as original equipment, the Passat, Scirocco, Touran and Tiguan.
“We did a test and on the same single tyre we made 42 holes and this mousse was able to seal the hole 42 times and keep the tyre at the right pressure.”
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