Michelin is an official tyre supplier for the Ferrari 296 GTB and will supply two different sets of rubber – the predominantly road-oriented Pilot Sport 4S K1 and the road legal Pilot Sport Cup 2R K2 for “drivers wishing to push the limits of their car on track.”
Pilot Sport Cup 4S K1
The 296 GTB wears Michelin Pilot Sport 4S K1 tyres in size 245/35ZR20 (95Y) XL TL at the front and 305/35ZR20 (107Y) XL TL on the rear wheels. Michelin says this “high-technology tyre” for “everyday” as well as “occasional circuit” use offers “an excellent balance between grip, control and driving pleasure while offering excellent longevity.”
No less than four different compounds (two for the front tyres and two for the rear) come together in the tread to “afford optimum dry grip and provide driving precision, along with the grip required for safety in wet conditions.”
Pilot Sport Cup2R K2
Mounted on the Ferrari 296 GTB in the same 245/35ZR20 (95Y) XL TL front and 305/35ZR20 (107Y) XL TL rear combination, the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2R K2 is a “road-legal racing tyre” that is “delighting lovers of exciting driving sensations.” It benefits from a mix of rubber compounds composed of functional elastomers to obtain a more homogeneous material. Michelin says the result is a very high degree of dry grip that allows for very high cornering speeds, combined with excellent stability at high speed, improved rolling resistance and grip on wet surfaces.
Bespoke design the only solution
Michelin designed the Ferrari 296 GTB tyres in a joint project with the Ferrari teams, and the tyres are identifiable as original equipment by the Ferrari ‘K’ symbol on the sidewalls. The tyre maker comments that bespoke design was the “only solution to achieve the performance levels demanded by Ferrari.” The Michelin teams were involved in the project from the moment the moment the technical specifications were first defined and designed the tyres over four development cycles and a period of 18 months.
Thanks to the use of highly advanced, cutting-edge simulation tools, Michelin reports it was able to achieve a “significant reduction” in the project’s environmental footprint through the manufacture of fewer prototype test tyres, while also reducing the number of physical tests and development time. The simulator also enabled Michelin to fine-tune the tyres for the 296 GTB with great precision.
During test sessions, including those held at the Fiorano circuit in Italy, Michelin also collected data to achieve very high-performance levels in terms of grip, feel and driving precision.
Hervé Charbonnel, Michelin tyre development engineer, describes the tyre development project with Ferrari as a “challenge and a great adventure.” He adds: “The demands of the Ferrari engineers led us to use the best of our technology to develop the special Michelin Pilot Sport 4S K1 and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2R K2 tyres. Thanks to our know-how associated with the use of simulation techniques, we were able to push the limits of grip with a new optimisation of the tread, while providing precision and the sensations of sports driving that are such crucial characteristics of Ferrari.”