Asymmetric Tread, Asymmetric Casing: The technology inside the Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3 tyre
Goodyear has launched a new tyre designed to replace the much vaunted Eagle F1 GSD3, which scored top marks in almost every test going – including Auto Express, Autocar, Max Power, Evo and Which? But while the old tyre’s symmetrical tread design was key to the product’s success, Goodyear is expecting the new product to succeed exactly because it isn’t. In addition to an asymmetrical tread design, the Eagle F1 Asymmetric features an asymmetric casing construction designed to reinforce one side and squeeze more grip from the tyre. Goodyear representatives told Tyres & Accessories they were gearing up for more award success following the introduction of the ‘Active Cornergrip Technology’ into the design of its latest tyre.
Part of the Goodyear presentation contained a timeline of milestones Goodyear has achieved at influential points during its development as a company. It is interesting to point out that before the 2007 launch of the new Eagle F1 Asymmetric the manufacturer marked 2006 as being the first use of RFID technology “on a production scale.” By this Goodyear is referring to its support of NASCAR racing in the US.
Referring to the new product, Goodyear brand support manager, Ben Crawley said he believes the continued innovation of the Eagle F1 is essential to keep up with the ever changing demands of motoring: “Today’s high performance vehicles are more advanced, intelligent, powerful and luxurious than ever before – they are also heavier and faster, which means they require tyres that can give control without losing performance, safety or comfort benefits.
“They have very high safety and performance expectations on which they are, for good reasons, not prepared to compromise. Goodyear is therefore very proud to be able to go beyond these consumer demands with the Eagle F1 Asymmetric, fulfilling all their needs – and more.”
Goodyear: casing construction a world first
The key technological improvement that has come with the Aysmmetric is the inclusion of a reinforcing component on one side of the tyre. Goodyear researchers suggest that this new technology allows the tyre to have more even road contact across the entire width of the tread and consequently more grip through corners.
The theory behind the new design is that as the vehicle travels through a corner, a high amount of force is exerted through the tyre’s footprint. The car’s weight distribution tendency moves to the outside shoulder of the tyre and the grip on the outside of the tread is increased, while the grip on the inside of the tyre decreases in comparison.
Goodyear calls this addition of an aramid reinforcement chipper “Active Cornergrip Technology” and says is leads to reduced deflection during cornering for a more even distribution of pressure across the whole contact patch. And what’s more the engineers behind the new tyre describe its launch as a “world premiere.”
When the development team started their work two years ago they had a clear mandate to develop a tyre capable of use in speeds up to 300 km/h with strong wet and dry cornering abilities.
After two years of development by over 100 engineers, physicists, chemists and product testers, the team is satisfied. “We are convinced we have achieved our goal,” stated Edouard Michel, project manager at the Goodyear Technical Centre Luxembourg (GTC*L).
The tread pattern of the Eagle F1 Asymmetric changes across the width of the tyre. On the inboard side an open tread pattern maximizes water dispersion, while a continuous centre rib provides enhanced high speed stability. Wide solid tread blocks on the outboard side allow maximum grip during cornering.
25 per cent quieter
As part of the rigorous testing and development procedure employed at GTC*L the new tyre was experimented on in Goodyear’s semi-anechoic noise chamber. According to the manufacturer, the new Eagle F1 produced 70.2 decibels of noise at 80km/h. To put this in context the current EU noise limit is 75 decibels. In the future this will be reduced to 73 decibels. Goodyear also tested the tyre alongside competing products and found that it outperformed these too – competitor A radiated 71.7 decibels of noise and competitor B 71.5 decibels.
In addition to noise testing, test evaluations were carried out over innumerable miles on public roads and test tracks. In order to tune the product to the specific markets it is aimed for, the R&D department tested the tyre on company tracks in Mireval, France and Wittlich, Germany, as well as on various independent European tracks, such as the Nuerburgring in Germany and the IDIADA track in Spain.
The Eagle F1 Asymmetric became available at the beginning of March in twenty-four 17 to 20 inch sizes. The tyre is being marketed in some of the lowest profile dimensions on the market and those two dozen sizes come exclusively in a selection of 50 down to 25 series aspect ratios. Almost the entire range is available with extra load versions.
The new tyre went into production at the beginning of the year at Goodyear’s German Hanau, Fulda and Philippsburg production plants, using compounds that were at least partly mixed at the company’s Wolverhampton mixing facility.
With Goodyear reporting improvements in both wet and dry handling in what is clearly a UHP orientated product, the obvious question is: how does the tread life perform? According to anecdotal reports from online forums, tread life was not the GSD3’s strong point. However, speaking to members of the research and development team behind the new tyre reveals this has been improved in the latest revision. GTC*L told Tyres & Accessories that the new Asymmetric tyre contains 115 pounds of race level carbon black filler, that means the tyre actually contains more filler than polymer. According to the engineers the result is, “good wear characteristics” that provide better treadwear than the GSD3.
It is also worthwhile mentioning that Goodyear recognises the influential effect that magazine and consumer association test results have on purchasing decisions. It is more than likely that we will see the new Eagle F1 participating in a high profile test, like Auto Express’ annual report, soon. This side of the marketing strategy will support a revised pricing scheme among dealers. One Goodyear representatives told T&A that the company wants to help dealers improve sales where some are missing out at the moment by underpricing products. And that is why the new Eagle F1 is expected to retail five to eight per cent higher than its predecessor.