Nokian targets North America with WR ‘all-weather’ range
The North American premium touring tyre segment is the stated target for Nokian’s newest all-season tyre, the Nokian WR G3. The Finnish manufacturer says the combination of its “solid winter experience” plus the use of “environmentally friendly premium products” such as nanotechnology and canola oil in the tyre “guarantee their reliable functionality in the typically varying weather conditions of North America.”
In a statement announcing the release of the WR G3, Nokian comments on the varying types of winter experienced in the North American winter, from pouring rain to heavy snowfall. In response to this assortment of meteorological conditions, the tyre maker says the product development work on the WR G3 focused on “achieving relentless grip in all conditions and an accurate, comfortable driving response that is reliable without surprises.”
“We utilised our top expertise and knowledge of all types of weather conditions,” explained Juha Pirhonen, Nokian Tyres’ vice-president of R&D. “Thanks to nanotechnology, new materials and innovations, as well as our modern production technology, we are able to provide drivers with tyres that have first-class grip and handling properties.”
Following computer modelling, the WR was tested in arctic conditions at Nokian Tyres’ test centre in Ivalo, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In addition to winter testing, the products were fine-tuned at several test tracks in Central Europe, including the test track in Nokia, Finland, which features a slush planing test that allowed developers to hone the tyre’s slush properties.
The WR G3 range consists of two different tread patterns to cover the different size categories. Most sizes receive an asymmetrical pattern, which Nokian says is ideal for mid-sized saloons, minivans, as well as larger and more powerful vehicles. Six WR G3 sizes are also available with an arrow-shaped tread pattern; this is said to be a durable alternative for smaller family cars and drivers who value safe, economic driving.
The compound used in the new range is what Nokian calls a ‘Cryogenic Canola Compound’, a combination of natural rubber, silica and canola oil – this combination is said to enhance winter grip, wet grip and wear resistance in varying temperatures. The silica in the compound contains Cryo silane, which enhances the functionality of the rubber mix. Canola oil provides higher resistance to tearing and improves ice and snow grip. Thanks to this unique combination, Nokian says it was able to achieve a very low rolling resistance with the WR G3.
Superior contact with the road surface is a basic characteristic of a reliable, safe tyre. At the same time, the design of a new tyre must take increasing vehicle power and load indices into account. Test conducted by Nokian Tyres showed an asymmetrical, open-centre tread pattern to be the best way of addressing these points. The WR G3 features, in most sizes, an asymmetrical inside-outside tread pattern that Nokian says enables reliable grip without compromising high-speed driving properties. The inner shoulder design enhances the removal of water and slush.
“A stable driving response is emphasised at higher speeds,” Pirhonen added. “This has been a particular focus in the development of the Nokian WR G3. It has a Nanobase support layer at the bottom of its strong cap & base structure. The smaller molecular structure enabled by nanotechnology improves the tire’s steering properties and control when driving in corners, changing lanes and performing emergency manoeuvres. The tyre has exemplary control properties in extreme situations both on gripping and slippery surfaces. Thanks to its innovative structure, the Nokian WR G3 is safe and accurate even in demanding conditions.”
The Nokian WR G3 range is available in a wide range of sizes from 14 to 19-inches and speed ratings ranging from T to V. Retail sales will begin in the spring of 2013.