Geneva supercars to roll on Pirelli
Pirelli tyres will feature as original equipment on four high-profile Geneva show debuts. The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster and Maserati’s latest Quattroporte both feature bespoke versions the Italian tyre maker’s P Zero, while a tailor-made version of the P Zero Corsa will be supplied to the McLaren P1 and Ferrari’s Enzo replacement, the LaFerrari.
The made-to-measure P Zero tyres fitted to the new Lamborghini are the result of a close collaboration between the Italian supercar maker’s and Pirelli’s engineers; Pirelli says they were “able to develop an innovative solution that guaranteed the best stability, comfort and handling on a car capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just three seconds and reaching a maximum speed of 350 kilometres per hour.”
The development work carried out by Pirelli’s technicians particularly concentrated on the rolling circumference of the tyres. In order to best respond to the needs of the Lamborghini’s four-wheel drive system, structures built with special materials and firmer compounds were used. This contains the deformation of the tyre and maintains the high performance and rolling characteristics in all usage conditions. “The new P Zero tyres have been designed to provide maximum grip and react quickly to changing speeds throughout the rev range, in order to transmit all the car’s power cleanly onto the ground,” reported the tyre maker in a statement.”
Reduced weight, rolling resistance
The P Zero tyres supplied to Maserati carry ‘MGT’ markings on their sidewalls, denoting that they are uniquely engineered for the Italian manufacturer. As in the case of Lamborghini, Pirelli’s development team collaborated closely with the car maker’s; they concentrated in particular on reducing the tyres’ weight. To guarantee high performance on a car that weighs 1,900 kilogrammes, Pirelli’s engineers reduced the mass of the belt package, resulting in an overall weight reduction for each front and rear tyre equivalent to between five to seven per cent. The compounds used also aid in a 15 per cent reduction in rolling resistance compared with conventional tyres.
The Quattroporte as shown in Geneva was fitted with the P Zero in size 245/40/20 at the front and 285/35/20 at the rear. The 530-horsepower, 307 kilometres per hour is also available on 19-inch P Zero tyres in 245/45/19 on the front and 275/40/19 on the rear. Pirelli says it is currently developing a new 21-inch P Zero tyre, which will be available in the next few months, to meet the needs of Maserati’s most sporting customers,
Focus on ‘three key areas’
While the two Italians are fitted with the P Zero, the newest supercar from Woking rides on the P Zero Corsa. Tailor-made versions of the asymmetric tyre will be exclusively fitted to the McLaren P1 in 245/35ZR19 at the front and 315/30ZR20 at the rear.
Pirelli says its engineers have developed an “innovative tyre solution capable of guaranteeing maximum stability and handling on a car that can reach a top speed of 360 kilometres per hour.” In order to create tyres that were best suited to the high performance of this 960-horsepower supercar, Pirelli’s technicians concentrated on three key areas:
The profile of the front tyre, which is asymmetric in order to optimise aerodynamic downforce. The asymmetric design allows the tyre to remain sufficiently rigid even when subjected to different weight transfers. According to the tyre maker, this asymmetric P Zero Corsa ensures “superior contact with the ground, even under cornering and braking, working in harmony with one of the most advanced suspension systems in the world.”
The structure of the rear tyre. In order to withstand high lateral forces of up to 2g under acceleration and through corners, Pirelli’s engineers created a bead design on the rear tyres that is also asymmetric. The new P1 can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just three seconds, requiring capable of transmitting all the torque from the engine cleanly. Pirelli reports it achieved this objective by designing two different structures for the front and rear tyres.
The work carried out on the structures naturally also affected the compounds. These now reach operating temperature even more quickly, which Pirelli says guarantees high grip levels and underlines the tyre’s rapid reaction to direction changes. The polymers in the compound used and the mixing processes employed are said to improve stability and resistance to stress.
In order to develop tyres that complement the P1’s characteristics, Pirelli says it called upon the experience gained in Formula One and all its other motorsport activities, also making use of computer simulations that replicate all usage conditions and stresses to which the tyres are subjected.
Last but definitely not least is Ferrari’s new LaFerrari. With a carbon fibre chassis, Kinetic Energy Recovery System and nearly a thousand horsepower, the new limited-edition Ferarri flagship can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in under 3.0 seconds and hit double that speed from a standing start in 7.3 seconds. The La Ferrari is fitted with bespoke PZero Corsa Asymmetric tyres in size 265/30-19 at the front and 345/30-20 at the rear.
Pirelli’s researchers, working closely with engineers from Ferrari, have increased the tyre’s contact patch. Thanks to the dedicated sizes and larger dimensions of the front tyre, understeer is reduced, which improves turn-in and grip as the car is going through the corner. A significantly lowered shoulder benefits cornering stiffness, improving both the efficiency and reactivity of the car for the driver.
One of the biggest areas of development on the new PZero Asymmetric tyre created for Ferrari was the structure, both front and rear. This was designed asymmetrically to cater for the considerable forces at work on the car. Furthermore, to obtain the best synergy between the tyre and suspension, Pirelli’s engineers differentiated the stiffness of the inner and outer tyre shoulder by about five per cent. According to Pirelli, this ensures the best possible grip and maximum performance stability in all usage conditions.
The compounds for the Ferrari PZero Corsa Asymmetric tyre were also specifically formulated to respond to the car’s individual needs. In particular, Pirelli’s engineers worked on the mixing process, using latest-generation polymers to simultaneously ensure improved stability and better resistance to mechanical stress
The tyres for the four supercars are made at facility in Settimo Torinese, near Turin, which uses Pirelli’s ‘Next Mirs’ technology. This system is the latest evolution of Pirelli’s fully robotised tyre production process. The compounds are precisely formulated thanks to Pirelli’s CCM (Continuous Compound Mixing) system: Pirelli states that CCM, which is also used for motorsport, is the “most advanced compound mixing process that exists in the industry.”