In its report ‘Future Dynamics of the European PCLT Tire Industry’, published in association with Tyrepress, leading tyre market data analyst Astutus Research noted that UHP tyres will account for a third of Europe’s replacement market by 2024. This growth reflects an already visible trend towards larger tyres on new car models as well as changes in the composition of the car parc.
“By 2024 tyres with a rim diameter of 17-inch or more will account for a third of the replacement market volume, up from 24 per cent in 2019. This market segment represented less than 50 million units in 2013 but is forecast to exceed 125 million units in 2024,” commented Astutus.
A market of this size means it’s becoming increasingly hard to pigeonhole the typical UHP tyre buyer. The ability to shave a tenth of a second from a lap time is certainly still a priority for some, but as we noted when publishing the nominations for the WhatTyre UHP Tyre of the Year, many drivers of powerful vehicles aren’t prepared to sacrifice comfort and economy.
It is now time to name the finalists for the WhatTyre UHP Tyre of the Year, and again we’re looking at the popular sizes 245/45 R18, 245/35 R19, 265/35 R20 in Y or higher speed ratings. We have added the requirement that our finalists should have at least one original equipment approval to their name – car makers have exacting requirements when selecting OEM tyres, and manufacturer approval thus serves as a useful barometer of tyre competence and quality. While the Fulda SportControl 2, our leading tyre in this category based on TyreScore alone, is ruled out on this basis, it remains an excellent option for everyday driving in powerful cars thanks to its low noise and high fuel efficiency.
WhatTyre UHP Tyre of the Year 2021
The WhatTyre UHP Tyre of the Year for 2021 is the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2.
In a segment where fuel efficiency and tyre noise all too often take a back seat to other considerations, the Dunlop tyre still impresses with its across the board performance. Its ‘AB’ label rating pairs very good grip on wet roads with low rolling resistance, and a tyre noise measurement of 68 dB means the Sport Maxx RT2 is quieter than many of its counterparts. Beginning with a ‘particularly recommendable’ result from sport auto in its debut test appearance in 2016, the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 has put in a good showing in numerous comparative tyre tests.
4 more “Highly Recommended” UHP tyres 2021
Joint runners-up are products from two of the biggest names in the business. A recent win in the sport auto tyre UHP tyre test and ‘exemplary’ rating from Auto Bild Sportscars serve as high praise for the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and confirm its performance credentials. Both publications also praised the tyre’s low rolling resistance. With an ‘AC’ rating, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S has a TyreScore of 8.41.
This is a TyreScore it shares with the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5. The winner of the 2021 and 2020 Gute Fahrt summer tests was lauded this year for its capabilities in both wet and dry conditions. The Eagle F1 Asymmetric is, like the Michelin tyre, ‘AC’ rated.
Original equipment approval from Audi for the Audi RS 6 Avant and Audi RS 7 Sportback late last year add extra weight to our fourth-placed tyre’s credentials. Hankook calls its Ventus S1 Evo3 an all-rounder that’s suited to this “particularly demanding vehicle segment.” In the selected 245/45 R18 100Y dimension the Hankook tyre has ‘AC’ wet grip and rolling resistance grades and a TyreScore of 8.25.
A best-seller for Falken, the Azenis FK510 has delivered consistently good tyre test results over the past five years, including its recent victory in the ADAC summer tyre test (size 225/50 R17Y) and a ‘very good’ rating from sport auto. With an ‘AC’ label rating, the Falken tyre has a TyreScore of 8.11.
Congratulations to our finalist tyres – we have no hesitation in recommending any of these five tyres for your car.
One to watch in 2021
We look forward to new names joining this list in the coming year. One tyre showing strong early potential in the UHP category is Bridgestone’s new Potenza Sport, which in its short career so far already has a tyre test win in the prestigious Auto Bild Sportscars test under its belt as well as second place in the most recent sport auto test. Compared to other tyres targeting hypercar and top-end performance cars, the Potenza Sport is also coming to the UK in more sizes to suit cars designed for everyday use.
About the TyreScore
All TyreScores quoted in the WhatTyre Tyre of the Year Awards 2021 are correct as of our judging period in March 2021, but more data and a new version of the algorithm will inevitably mean changes. When you buy your next tyres, we recommend you make WhatTyre part of your pre-sale research to determine the best tyre for you.