The formal agreement to acquire Test World was preceded by the establishment of a “strategic collaboration” between Millbrook and the Finnish facility in June 2015. The collaboration was announced at Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2015, in Stuttgart which ran from 16 – 18 June. There the growing partnership between the two companies could be seen in their adjoining exhibition stands designed to demonstrate the range of facilities and services the two businesses can offer.
Recent ads from Continental cockily ask ‘Who says you can’t win them all?’ The tyre maker raises a fair point – it has enjoyed a good run of test victories in recent times, with its ContiPremiumContact 5 topping the ADAC and Auto Bild tyre tests in Germany and the ContiSportContact 5 claiming victory in this year’s auto motor und sport summer tyre test. Here in the UK, the ContiSportContact 5 was named top tyre in the recent Auto Express test of 11 size 225/45R17 tyres, and now evo magazine has named the ContiSportContact 5 winner of its summer tyre test – for the second year in a row.
Following its latest meeting in Catalunya race, a total of 16 Moto2 riders tested two potential 2016 rear tyres. The test took place at Barcelona and Aragon where the riders evaluated compounds with wider operating windows to enhance the Dunlop Moto2 tyre range.
German tyre maker Continental has shared its view on the comparative test of ten budget SUV tyres conducted by Auto Bild Allrad magazine. The tyre maker sees the test – which used its ContiCrossContact UHP as a reference tyre – as confirmation of its product’s clear superiority. In a press release, Continental comments: “None of the tested models matched the Continental tyre, which was utilised as reference tyre, in safety-relevant performance. Once again, the Far Eastern products possessed significant weaknesses.”
Following the opening of a tyre research and development centre at the site of its factory in Hefei, China, Continental says it will be able to more quickly and efficiently develop new generations of summer and winter tyres for the Chinese market. The centre, which was erected with an investment of more than €4 million, opened at the end of March.
As part of its investment programme for 2015, Rubber Consultants has complemented its existing tyre testing facilities with the purchase of a new two-station passenger test rig. The UK-based TARRC consultancy says the rig will be commissioned in late spring. One hub will have a 320km/h and two tonne capacity and will be able to carry out force and moment measurements that are used to identify tyre performance characteristics and provide insight into how a tyre’s design affects overall vehicle dynamics. Rubber Consultants says it will be one of the few laboratories in Europe that can offer this service.
Honda Racing Corporation’s Hiroshi Aoyama has told MotoGP’s official website that his first contact with Michelin’s tyres – at Sepang testing at the end of 2014 – made him feel “comfortable”. He added that while conditions were hot, and he would want to improve the bike’s interaction with Michelin’s rubber, “tyre performance was already quite good.”
The Norwegian motoring association NAF (Norges Automobil-Forbund) has conducted a test of Nordic market winter tyres. The products coming under the NAF microscope typically differ from cold weather tyres sold in the UK and Western Europe in terms of compound – a softer compound is used for Nordic winter tyres – and more than half also featured studs.
Goodyear Dunlop has opened a new winter tyre testing facility, the Arctic Centre, in Ivalo, Finland. Located 300 km north of the Arctic Circle, near the town of Ivalo in North Eastern Finland, the Arctic Centre is one of Europe’s leading winter tyre testing centres, and as of December 2014, will be exclusively used by Goodyear Dunlop. Jean-Pierre Jeusette, general director of Goodyear’s Innovation Centre, Laurent Colantonio, director of global tyre performance prediction and, representing the company‘s Nordic Region, Ludvig Nauckhoff, general manager Nordic were present as the ribbon was cut.
Toyo Tires has revealed the latest test driver to join its ranks is none other than BTCC and British GT ace, Tom Onslow-Cole. As well as being a well-known driver in his own right, the popular Surrey wheelman is also the head coach for motorsport’s governing body, the MSA.
Infinity Tyres Europe has questioned a recent ADAC winter tyre test’s selection of its INF049 – a tyre the company says is no longer in production. The tyre was evaluated as part of the 2014 ADAC winter tyre test, and while the manufacturer does not wish to question the German organisation’s testing parameters, it criticises the selection process that led to its INF049 tyre being tested. Infinity says the tyre was “only available to purchase in 2013.”
A new tyre testing facility has been added to Kumho’s European Technical Centre (KETC) in Papenburg, Germany. The 1,000 square metre premises will facilitate the upwards of 3,000 tyres that the KETC tests a year and it houses a nine-strong test team along with all the required tyres and wheel rims. Kumho says the adjacent proving ground has been particularly designed to encompass subjective handling, wet handling characteristics, aquaplaning, driving comfort, interior/exterior noise and braking on all surfaces. These activities are supported by GPS-based measurement systems and digital evaluation of the tyre footprints.
On 1 July Linglong Group signed a strategic agreement with IDIADA to partner in the construction of a central Asian tyre proving ground. The agreement was signed between Josep-Maria Farran, COO (chief operating officer) of IDIADA, and Wang Feng, vice president of Linglong Group, marking the start of this strategic cooperation.
Auto Express’ decision to make its recent tyre tests their “biggest ever” goes some way towards demonstrating the increasing interest surrounding these reports. And with so many brands on the market all claiming to be the best at something, who can blame consumers for wanting a second opinion?
However, Auto Express is not alone when it comes to testing. Other well-known magazines including Which? Autocar and Evo also publish tyre test results. But in terms of coverage and frequency Auto Express’ tyre tests currently lead the way in the UK. And when you consider that that this particular publication is Britain’s biggest selling motoring weekly, it is clear that winning or being recommended by such a report can have very positive repercussions on the tyre business.
Relatively unknown brands particularly have a lot to gain. By winning or being recommended in tests, these companies stand to gain a leg up in the estimation the country’s motoring millions, without investing in publicity or marketing campaigns. The theory is that product quality will speak for itself.