The sharp end of the performance tyre spectrum is the domain of the supersports or ultra-ultra-high performance (UUHP) tyre. Completely road legal but also designed to deliver superior performance on the track, these products are tasked with the weighty remit of providing a dynamic yet safe driving experience to the world’s most powerful cars in both wet and dry conditions. WhatTyre has identified five supersports tyres that excel at this.
But first, a warm welcome to the Pirelli Trofeo RS. Launched in July 2023 as Pirelli’s “most sporting” semi-slick tyre yet, the Trofeo RS is a “technical evolution” of the Trofeo R. Pirelli states that this new generation semi-slick offers increased dry performance with extra consistency in the most intense driving conditions. We look forward to seeing this how this tyre measures up in comparative testing.
WhatTyre Supersports Tyre of the Year 2023 Winner: Continental SportContact7
When naming the Continental SportContact 7 our 2022 WhatTyre Supersports Tyre of the Year, we commented that it “shows potential for further greatness” that would build upon a foundation of early tyre test wins. Indeed it has, with praise coming from many corners. Sportauto recently declared the Continental tyre “phenomenal”, and Gute Fahrt noted that while “there are not many tyres that can enthuse an experienced tyre tester,” the SportContact 7 is one such tyre. Now available in 96 sizes for 18- to 23-inch rim diameters, with all but a couple of dimensions possessing an EU label rating of A for wet grip, Continental SportContact 7 returns as the WhatTyre Supersports Tyre of the Year for 2023.
Highly Recommended: Bridgestone Potenza Sport
After arriving in 2020 as successor to the Potenza S001, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport quickly made a name for itself by winning the Auto Bild Sportscars 2021 tyre test with what the motoring publication called a “completely new benchmark” for wet handling – a feat Bridgestone described as “fantastic recognition for what we already knew to be market-leading performance. The tyre also gained several podium finishes in its first year before continuing its strong showing in 2022 and 2023.
The Potenza Sport is also a popular choice with vehicle manufacturers and has appeared as original equipment on cars such as the BMW 8 series, Ferraro Roma, Lamborghini Revuelto and Huracán STO, and Maserati Grecale Trofeo/MHEV and MC20. The tyre is available in the aftermarket in sizes for 17- to 22-inch rim diameters, with all dimensions achieving an EU label A rating for wet grip.
Three Commended tyres
Pirelli’s P Zero PZ4 impressed us in the Performance Tyre category, and it’s done so here, too. As German magazine Gute Fahrt observed when testing the PZ4 in 235/35 R19, a size worn by cars such as the VW Golf GTI and Cupra Leon TSI, Pirelli has continually worked to improve this tyre since its initial launch. By doing so, the Pirelli P Zero PZ4 has “worked its way to the front and now demonstrates how a well-balanced product can achieve desired aims.”
Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Supersport arrived in 2019 and was promptly crowned victor of that year’s Tyre Reviews summer test. The site looked at the Eagle F1 Supersport in a size 245/35 R19 front axle and 265/35 R19 rear combination and declared these “excellent in the key dry and wet handling testing” with “great steering feel and balance whatever the conditions.” The Eagle F1 Supersport has continued to impress: In their joint ZR-rated 225/40 R18 summer 2021 test, evo magazine and Blackcircles.com voted the tyre runner-up, calling it “strong in both wet and dry handling, subjectively and against the watch.” The testers said the Goodyear tyre “felt poised and grippy in the wet” while it was “agile, connected and tactile” in the dry. Eagle F1 Supersport returned to Tyre Reviews last year, who named it “the tyre to pick” for track use in the site’s UUHP test. Sportauto rated the tyre ‘good’ in its 2022 UUHP test and reported “balanced performance in the wet.” Moving on to 2023, and the Goodyear tyre received another ‘good’ rating, this time from Gute Fahrt.
As we mentioned last year, the Hankook Ventus S1 evo Z is a quiet achiever. Although appearing less frequently in tests since its launch in 2021 than similarly-named UHP sibling the Ventus S1 evo 3, it has given a good account of itself. Sportauto rated the Hankook tyre ‘good in its 2022 UUHP test, commenting that it provides driving safety in the wet together with dynamically sporty handling characteristics. Original equipment approvals began before the Ventus S1 evo Z was even launched, with the Mini John Cooper Works GP wearing the Hankook rubber in size 225/35R18 87Y XL. BMW M has also chosen the tyre for its X3M and X4M, with both models fitted with 255/40 ZR21 102Y at the front and 265/40 ZR21 105Y on the rear. Porsche also wanted a piece of the evo Z action for its Panamera, and kits out selected models with bespoke tyres either in 265/45 ZR19 105Y XL / 295/40 ZR19 108Y XL or 275/40 ZR20 (106Y) XL / 315/35 ZR20 (110Y) XL combinations – all tyres featuring Porsche’s ND0 sidewall marking.