As well as being at the cutting edge of performance, the new P Zero boasts a 15 per cent rolling resistance reduction thanks to an 80 per cent silica tread compound
Two weeks after it was previewed during the Geneva Motor Show, on 13 April Pirelli launched its latest P Zero tyre in Portugal, furthering the “made to measure” meets “extreme performance” pro-homologation message Pirelli has attached to its latest product.
According to Pirelli, what sets the new P Zero apart is its progressive road-holding at high speed, consistently even wear, lower noise, decreased rolling resistance and better aquaplaning performance. Indeed, Pirelli goes as far as saying these characteristics make the new P Zero the most advanced tyre technology currently available. Which makes sense because Pirelli reports that it is relying on the Zero to “consolidate its worldwide leadership of the prestige sector and enhance its presence in the premium category”.
30 years after the very first P Zero appeared, Pirelli believes its latest generation will follow in the footsteps of a series of products that – in the company’s words –have “made history over the last few decades”: from the P Zero System to the Rosso, not forgetting of course the Nero, the Corsa and the P Zero itself, which was introduced in 2007.
As Tyres & Accessories reported back in March following the P Zero preview, the new tyre aims to “integrate a multiplicity of technical solutions from the Italian firm’s engineers, in close collaboration with their counterparts from the world’s leading car manufacturers”. The idea is that by closely matching advanced technology, processes and materials with the specific requirements of each new car during the design phase, Pirelli is able to supply bespoke tyres for every individual model. In other words as well as specialising in high performance tyres, Pirelli want to further “premiumise” its brand by focusing on so-called marked tyres homologated specifically for (and indeed by) particular marques.
P Zero product developments
According to Pirelli, the new P Zero achieves the levels of performance it does thanks to new underlayer compounds, which are designed to improve handling and rolling resistance; innovative polymers with advanced mechanical properties to optimise performance in both wet and dry conditions; and “an innovative tread pattern with deeper longitudinal grooves to expel more water”.
The tyre also features F1 bead technology derived from Pirelli’s experience in Formula One. In short, this means utilising an especially rigid compound within the bead area that allows a more rapid and precise steering response, avoiding any unexpected loss of lateral grip. The F1 Bead technology means that the forces at work on the bead and sidewall are more evenly distributed, which consequently reduces any drop-off in performance and also enhances the integrity of the structure when subjected to high loads and speeds.
At the same time, and arguably working towards a wholly different goal, the use of an 80 per cent silica compound is said to have helped reduce rolling resistance by 15 per cent – something that improves overall fuel consumption and therefore also emissions.
Extended range profile
According to Pirelli, the new P Zero breaks ground when it comes to durability as well. Not only does it offer a long tyre life, but it is also said to provide more consistent performance throughout the entire life cycle. By making the footprint flatter thanks to its “extended range profile”, Pirelli’s engineers reported that they have been able to ensure that wear becomes more even, which extends the tyre’s useful life and ultimately saves drivers money.
While the new P Zero has only just been launched, it already comes to market with a portfolio of 60 homologations. This fits in with the rest of its range, which features 800 current homologations (1000 in total, including cars that are no longer produced). This means Pirelli tyres equip one in two prestige cars registered globally. To give an example, supercars such as the Lamborghini Centenario, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, the Mercedes GT AMG and the Porsche Boxter already come equipped with the new P Zero – which has been created in a number of targeted versions to suit the technical requirements and unique characteristics of each car.
Back in 1987 the introduction of the first 17-inch road tyre by Pirelli was seen as something of an innovation, but today the range extends all the way to 22 inches in order to cope with increasingly powerful envelopes of performance. When you consider the history it is no surprise Pirelli has retained the P Zero name for its very latest product. Moving forward, it will be interesting to track the success of Pirelli’s bespoke tyre/perfect-fit-for-every-car strategy.