Prefer to watch a tyre test than read about it? Then you’ve come to the right place. Tyre Reviews has tested eight brands of UHP tyre and presented the proceedings in a 16-minute video. As far as we’re aware this is the first full-video test ever published – but we’re certain it won’t be the last.
The UK-based site examined eight brands of performance rubber, including what it calls the “holy trinity of UHP tyres” – the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S, Continental SportContact 6 and Goodyear’s latest, the new Eagle F1 Supersport.
Tyre Reviews’ Jon Benson fitted the eight sets of ultra high performance tyres to a BMW M2 for testing. The M2 wore 245/35 R19 rubber on the front axle and 265/35 R19 on the rear. Benson evaluated four mid-range tyres alongside the three premiums. The eighth was a budget brand. All eight were tested for handling and braking in wet and dry conditions – including ‘subjective’ tests based on Benson’s evaluation of driving feeling and balance. He also looked at rolling resistance, comfort, noise and tyre weight.
As expected, the premium tyre ‘trinity’ dominated the individual test disciplines (with some exceptions) and ultimately the victors’ podium. Tyre Reviews rates all three ‘highly recommended’.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport has only just hit the market, and we believe this is the first time it has been tested. Congratulations then for whacking one over the fence from the opening ball. Benson says this recent release is “excellent in the key dry and wet handling testing, with great steering feel and balance whatever the conditions.” He detected no drop in lap time during dry handling testing. The only minor blemishes on an otherwise spotless results sheet were slightly weak wet braking and lower than average comfort and noise levels.
(1st place in: wet handling, subjective wet handling, tyre weight)
The runner-up tyre from Michelin gave the shortest stopping distances in both dry and wet conditions, excellent dry handling and good comfort levels. But the Pilot Sport 4 S was only fifth fastest in the wet handling test, and Tyre Reviews blames an oversteer balance for this. The Michelin tyre was “not quite as sharp as the Continental on the front axle,” added Benson.
(1st place in: wet braking, dry braking)
Benson experienced “excellent wet and dry braking” with the SportContact 6. The Continental tyre was also fastest in the dry with the best steering speed, and scored top marks for dry subjective feel and balance. Nobody’s perfect though: Benson comments that “oversteer balance in the wet made it difficult to extract a good lap time” from the Continental tyre, in spite of it giving the best front end grip.
(1st place in: dry handling, noise, subjective dry handling)
Now we get to what Jon Benson describes as “four of the internet’s favourite mid-range tyres.” Tyre Reviews gives two of these – the Falken Azenis FK510 and Vredestein Ultrac Vorti – a very respectable ‘recommended’ rating.
4th: Falken Azenis FK510
The Falken tyre gained a good result in the wet braking test, and Benson judged it comfortable to drive on. Less impressive was the steering’s subjective feel, which suffered due to sidewall roll.
(1st place in: subjective comfort)
Benson speaks highly of the Ultrac Vorti, praising its “excellent dry grip and handling” and steering feel, which was “one of the best” on test. “The balance remained in the wet, making for good wet handling times,” he adds. “Very small time drop off during dry handling.” All well and good, but the Vredestein tyre finished 5th from 8. It missed out on a better result due to weak wet braking, high rolling resistance and low comfort levels. It is also the heaviest of the eight tested tyres.
The other half of the mid-range quartet are rated ‘conditionally recommended’
6th: Toyo Proxes Sport
The Toyo did well in the wet handling test. Aquaplaning resistance was the highest of all tested tyres. It is also comfortable and felt nice to steer. However, its wet braking result was “average” and dry braking result “poor”. Benson also observed a significant dry handling lap time drop.
(1st place in: straight aquaplaning)
7th: Kumho Ecsta PS91
The Ecsta got off to a good start, giving a very quick initial dry handling lap with good steering feel and car balance. But the tyre overheated very quickly during both the dry and wet handling tests. Benson reported that this “changed the balance to high levels of oversteer.” Its wet braking performance is also “very poor” and ride comfort levels just average.
And the wooden spoon goes to…
8th: Accelera P1
When finishing in last place, do it in style. The Accelera did. Tyre Reviews didn’t expect much from the budget product and wasn’t disappointed. Benson’s advice after testing was “do not fit this tyre.” Why? Although low in rolling resistance and noise, the Accelera P1 offers “very poor wet grip, extremely long wet braking distances, poor dry grip.” The tyre finished last in all wet and dry braking and handling tests, including subjective handling.