As with any new tyre development, Michelin created several key goals for the new Pilot Sport Cup 2 by analysing the weaknesses of the previous generation Cup+. The first goal, and perhaps the weakest aspect of the outgoing tyre, was to improve the wear - the target was 50% greater wear on track, while still improving the dry laptime. The second major requirement was high speed stability; the original Cup+ was extremely quick around a lap, but during high speed transitions the tyre could leave you second guessing its intentions, and the transition to oversteer could be quite snappy.
To find out whether Michelin had met these opposing goals we were gifted a Porsche 997 Turbo S, an empty Jerez racetrack, and as many sets of the outgoing Michelin Pilot Sport Cup+, and the new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as required. After a practice session on old tyres, we gave ourselves 3 fast laps to get the ultimate pace, then 2 further laps to “play” past the limit, to see how the tyres took serious abuse.
When compared directly to the Cup+, initial impressions of the Cup 2 were actually negative - it’s a slightly slower steering tyre in low speed corners. While it's only a fraction, it was noticeable while testing back to back, however the payoff was clear the first time a high speed corner was taken - stability. So much more stability, to the point it felt like the 911 had uprated dampers.
Where the Cup+ needed two inputs for each corner, the first to turn the car and the second to catch the car as it settled into the turn, the Cup 2 was in another league. A single turn placed the car exactly where you wanted it to be, and mid corner you weren't fighting the grip as you were on the Cup+. On the subject of grip, the Cup 2 had noticeably more dry grip than the Cup+, and while the turn two understeer hadn't been eliminated, the car had a much better balance mid corner. While these were big steps forward, there were more subtle steps too. The Cup 2 offered more braking stability at the end of the long straight, curbs upset the car less, and powerslides, if your thing, were easier with the new tyre as it provided more communication past the limit. Ultimate lap time: 2.09.7, 2.4 seconds faster than the Cup+ with no signs of overheating. When you combine all this with 50% better wear on all tyres of vehicles, the Cup 2 is a real winner.
Initially the 911 felt a little vague at the front, not unusual, but once up to speed the car felt twitchy and nervous in the high speed corners, requiring a lot of steering input to place the car where you needed it to be. In the slow, off camber turn 2 ironically named "Curva Michelin", there was a large amount of understeer, with the Turbos four wheel drive system refusing to neutralise it on throttle. Braking down to the Curva Dry Sac at the end of the long straight, with the track slightly cambered to the left was vague and kept you more interested in keeping the car straight, rather than where you should be turning in. Criticism aside, the raw grip was immense, and the car quick to turn. Ultimate laptime settled into a 2.12.1 over the 3 quick laps, with the tyres starting to overheat two laps later, after lots of 'scientific' abuse.
Numbers of tyres produced : 1200 differents tyres on 997 GT3 fitment (235/35 R19 & 305/35 R19). These tyres were the fitment for our development study.
Numbers of simulation : 80 tyres
Numbers of kilometers on track (NARDO, JEREZ, NURBURGRING, IDIADA and Michelin internal tracks) 7000 km (4000 km for endurance testing, 2000km on dry condition, 1000km on wet condition)
Variations produced to compare of CUP+ tyres: On summit (tread pattern, rubber compound), On sidewall (velvet technology and material of architecture), On bead area.
The already OE homologated 8 Tyre Sizes
SLS AMG Black serie:
275/35 ZR 19 (100Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MO MI
325/30 ZR 20 (106Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MO MI
245/35 ZR 20 (91Y) TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 N0 MI
305/30 ZR 20 (103Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 N0 MI
265/35 ZR 20 (95Y) TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 N0 MI
325/30 ZR 21 (104Y) TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 N0 MI
458 version speciale
245/35 ZR 20 (91Y) TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 K1 MI
305/30 ZR 20 (103Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 K1 MI
Specific replacement market tyre sizes first wave (14 Tyre Sizes)
235/35 ZR 19 (91Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
305/30 ZR 19 (102Y) EXTRA LOAD TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
245/35 ZR 19 (93Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
325/30 ZR 19 (105Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
265/35 ZR 19 (98Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
295/30 ZR 19 (100Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
235/40 ZR 19 (96Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
285/35 ZR 19 (103Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
265/40 ZR 19 (102Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
255/35 ZR 19 (96Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
295/30 ZR 20 (101Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
345/30 ZR 20 (106Y) TL PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
245/30 ZR 20 90(Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI
315/25 ZR 20 99(Y) TL EXTRA LOAD PILOT SPORT CUP 2 MI