New Pirelli P Zero track tested
When we got the invitation I could have been excused for thinking it was a dream, Pirelli wants me to come to Phillip island Race Track, drive some really nice, even exotic cars all day and give its new P Zero tyre a full work out.
Oh well, as they say it’s a dirty job but somebody has got to do it, so Paul Maric, with cameras in hand, and I headed off the do our best at torturing as much of Pirelli’s very best rubber as was possible in one day at a race track.
To be truthful we had little idea of what was planned for the day but we did know that Pirelli managing director Roberto Righi would be on hand to explain the details of this latest premium rubber, which is fitted to the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Maserati, but which, we learned, works just as well on a Ford Falcon XT – more about that later.
There was certainly a delectable line-up of machinery waiting in the pitlane including an Audi R8, BMW M3 (yes the new V8 model), several Subaru WRX STis and an Audi S3, just to mention a few, oh yes and that Falcon XT, but more on that later.
Firstly there was a full briefing from the Pirelli people on the merits of their newest addition to the P Zero range and we have to say it certainly sounded like an impressive piece of rubber.
The new P Zero is Pirelli’s newest and most technologically advanced ultra-high performance tyre.
After two years of development and testing, the latest addition to the P Zero collection features a brand new tread pattern, innovative compounds and structure, and is protected by five exclusive patents.
“The new P Zero is the most advanced product to come out of Pirelli’s research and is a revolution for the Australian tyre industry,” Mr Righi said.
“This tyre has been designed and developed to control the extreme performance of supercars and to offer unprecedented performance in all areas of sports handling, comfort and safety.”
Pirelli says the new P Zero guarantees optimum performance in wet or dry conditions throughout the lifetime of the tyre, while combining sports handling with comfort.
The tyre boasts special nano-composites in the compounds of the tread and the bead (the element of the tyre anchoring it to the wheel rim) that guarantee a comfortable ride together with sports performance.
The tread compound provides optimum performance even during the first few kilometres when the tyre is still cold.
According to Pirelli the innovative tread pattern offers low noise and superior grip in wet conditions, while the asymmetric DA.Co (Dynamic Asymmetric Contour) profile ensures even wear with a consistent footprint at all speeds.
Moreover, the new P Zero has been designed with the utmost respect for the environment, as the compounds used contain no aromatic oils.
Thanks to the Hybrid Cord system, the carcass allows the deformation of the tyre profile to be controlled through to speeds up to 370 kph, increasing the durability of the tyre, not simply in terms of outright mileage, but in the consistency of performance throughout its life.
Mr Righi said that the launch of the new P Zero has further consolidated Pirelli’s leadership of the high end tyre market, and the tyre has already been chosen and homologated by manufacturers for use as original equipment on many current and prestigious performance cars.
The new P Zero is available in Australia in 41 sizes, ranging from 16 inch to 20 inch, and is now on sale through the 274 Pirelli Approved Dealers in Australia. Prices start from $336.00 per tyre.
Now normally when you test tyres you obviously try different brands against each other and obviously there wasn’t going to be any of that at this day.
However, Pirelli had set up a number of challenges for the P Zero including acceleration and braking tests, a challenging slalom and a wet road/drifting section on one of the more demanding corners at the track.
In all they certainly proved that the Pirelli P Zero is a ‘grip-meister’ under most challenging conditions.
Also on hand to set a bit of a benchmark for us was Pirelli Ambassador and former V8 Supercar Champion, Craig Lowndes, and yes that’s where the BF Falcon XT came in.
Lowndes was reduced to driving the most humble model in the Falcon range because that was all that was available and contract obligations dictated a Ford vehicle for Mr Lowndes, but it was at least shod with a brand new set of P Zeros
Later we were allowed out on the race track in the whole range of vehicles on hand and if you truly want to be humbled just imagine your lapping Phillip Island race track in a Pirelli P Zero shod Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, going pretty quick and feeling a little smug with your self when you look in the rear view mirror to find it filled with a stock standard BF Falcon XT that very obviously wants to go past you.
Now that’s how to drive on a set of Pirelli P Zeros.