The new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R, initially developed for the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and GT2 RS, improves the dry grip and steering ability of the excellent Cup 2. The new shoulder profile has 10% more footprint, and the stiffer sidewall makes the new Cup 2 R even faster and sharper on a dry track. Mileage equals the Cup 2, and the regular Cup 2 tyre is slightly better in the wet.
Dry Grip 10/10
I had a chance to get a set of Pilot Sport Cup 2 R N0 on 991.1 GT3 RS and drove it on the Nordschleife. It looks like the Corvette Spec'd PSC2 ZP (i.e. shaved and more aggressively patterned PSC2), although this one is not a runflat tire. Anyway, it has a tremendous amount of grip and gives you extremely planted feeling. There are no other street tires feel like this one. Granted, I've used only two tires on the ring with this car, but they are Trofeo R and PSC2 N2. But this is a mile better than PSC2 N2 and maybe a half mile better than Trofeo R, which puts this tire on par with real slick tires.
These planted feeling is extremely important when you're on the Nordschleife, because it is very scary track (due to its bumpiness and unforgiving layouts) and this scariness acts as the biggest limiting factor on your laptime (well at least for me). Thanks to its tremendous grip, I was able to reach 7:12 BTG with this tire (and 7:10 composite lap) within 9 TF laps (3 laps in a row, break, repeat). Conditions on that day (surface/air temp, traffic) was very good but it was so big improvement over my previous personal best BTG time with this car, which was 7:19 (with Trofeo R).
Consistency and resistance to the heat build up is pretty similar to regular PSC2, which is very good. Warm up speed is not on par with very fast tire but itâ€™s okay.
Wet Grip 1/10
Well, the regular PSC2 was never a good tire on a fully wet track or highway. Typically, the high performance summer street tires are the best on this regards, and these sorts of tires (streetable track) are much worse than them (in every aspects, including grip, resistance to hydroplaning, etc), especially if it's actually raining.
However, PSC2 was more resistant to hydroplaning, compare to the regular streetable track tires or its previous gens (PSC+ and PSC), thanks to its much deeper and wider groove. It wasn't exactly on par with the high performance street tires but you have no problem following the regular traffic, even if it's raining heavily (hence standing water here and there), as it has similar resistance to hydroplaning with low performance comfy tires.
PSC2 R reverts back every improvement in this respect and make it worse. Now, it's basically one of the worst tire you can have, if the surface is anything wetter than slightly moist. If it's raining heavily and there are many pools of water on the road, you will have hard time to keep up with trucks, let alone the fast cars. I can't believe this tire is street legal, for both dry and wet performance.
Road Feedback N/A
If it means reading every uneven surface through the tire and steering system, I can't really say about this one, because 991 has an electric power steering and every EPS-equipped cars do not have same level of road feedback that is available on hydraulic systems.
Well. I don't care about wet performance, so I'll go with dry grip on this one.
I only drove it for 9 laps on Nordschleife (about 3 of them were either warm-up or cooling laps) and a few hundred km on Autobahn. It wasn't enough to wear it out completely, hence I can't really say about its tread life or heat cycles. However, the tread on this one looks pretty much like shaved PSC2, so I don't expect it to last as long as the regular PSC2 does.
I'm pretty dull at this area, because all of my cars have had these sort of tires for the last decade or so, thus I became very insensitive about the noise and comfort long ago. I guess it's about an average among these sort of tires because it didn't feel particularly harsh. But again, I'm not sure as I don't care at all.
Buy again 7/10 (if price goes down somewhat similar to regular PSC2, 10/10)
I'm not sure about its longevity, so I'm also not sure about the running cost. But if it's close to half of regular PSC2, shorter lifespan combined with greater purchase price will push the running cost significantly higher, and that is beyond I'm willing to pay (I've gone through 15-20 sets of tires per year usually). However, I'm willing to pay somewhat more at least once in a while, since it felt so good. If I have an unlimited budget, I'll probably always use this tire, but then again, if I have an unlimited budget, I would have a 911 RSR not GT3 RS.
while driving a
Nissan GT R
(305/35 R20 W) on
a combination of roads
Cup2R takes everything great about the Cup2 and makes it better for the purpose you buy them for, extracting the performance out your car.
Make no mistake, this is a DRY day tyre, if you are using them in damp to wet conditions then extra caution is advised. It isn't the worst wet tyre I've ever driven in that it wont try to kill you if someone sneezes on the road 100 yards ahead, but the extremely shallow and narrow tread pattern lend no help in water dissipation and drivers need to be aware of this.
So onto the good, and, oh boy are these good.
After getting them fitted I made a few distance journeys to scrub them in, but right from the first couple of miles you could tell they were grippy. I resisted the urge to really give them a hammering for around 400 miles, but on my way back from a business meeting I took the back roads rather than motorway driving, a mix of long sweeping corners, some tight and twisty country roads and some dual carriageways. As with any performance tyre they need a bit of heat in them, soon after a few miles of spirited driving I opened up the taps and started making some time. The grip on the roads is insane, the confidence they give you is almost a sense of impunity, the feedback is spot on and the inputs to the steering wheel are delivered in an extremely precise and accurate manner. Every now and then I'd catch myself looking at the speed I went around a corner and wonder how come I'm still looking at a road instead of the various farm life living in the fields running alongside the route I was taking. Seriously impressive stuff.
Road driving in the dry 10/10.
The following weekend I had a day at silverstone, a circuit the GTR loves due to the ability to put that power down. As as above, the tyres loved it, they got upto temperature quickly and after a quick pit stop to adjust the pressures I went out for some laps. It was a quiet day out on track so I did 5-6 laps flat out, and from the get go they were incredible, I was braking later and getting on the power earlier than many of the other cars out there, a couple of other GTR drivers on R888Rs tyres were blown away by how much confidence I had in them. The only tyre I could imagine being a contender for the Cup2R would be the Trofeo R tyre.
Track Driving in the dry 10/10.
Now the "not so good", and I've put that in quotes because if you are buying this tyre you aren't buying them to go on for any other than performance reasons. As with any race-oriented tyre (and this is a, barely, road legal race tyre), the noise is noticeable, and these are a notch noisier then the Cup2, but no where near as bad as the R888.
The comfort is again on par with the Cup2, probably slightly less comfortable, but not to any degree a few clicks off the suspension settings dont compensate for.
The wear is fantastic, and despite several track days, and being my daily driver, still has plenty of life left.
In the wet....
Oh this is where I have to get a bit negative. I booked a day at Donnington and unfortunately, it was raining. Undeterred I went out for a few laps, and they sure were interesting... unfortunately in the wet these tyres are noticeably worse than their predecessor. I was unable to get any real power down, and when they did find purchase it was short lived. The craner curves went from being a flat out incredible bit of track to being a rollercoaster of pure terror as to if you were just going to slide off on the directional shifts. Even as the track started to dry off in the afternoon, the lack of ability was palpable, while those other GTR drivers on the MPS4S tyres were happily pounding around track, I resigned myself to getting some snaps and videos of their cars.
Wet Track driving 1/10.
The drive home in the wet was equally disappointing, puddles on the road looked like lakes, and any standing water unsettled the car considerably. I can usually make it to Donnington or back inside an hour from my house, the drive home took a good hour and a half. Having said that, I have driven worse, so in a pinch they will do if you have no alternatives.
Wet Road driving 3/10.
All in all, to finish this up with a TLDR:
If you are going to buy these tyres, then you will be buying them for one reason, going fast in the dry. You aren't buying these to be a long lasting 30,000 mile cruise around Europe tyre, they come with all the benefits and the pitfalls that can be expected from a near-slick tyre. The price is a little steep currently, but hopefully once they get production into full swing that will come down. The wear for such a tyre is fantastic and the general ride comfort is easily acceptable for the trade off in performance. As long as you set your expectations in the wet, I would find it difficult to criticize them for not performing amazingly in conditions they weren't designed to be used in.
Will I buy them again? Hell yes, a set of MPS4S are coming now we are getting to the cold end of the year, but soon as it starts warming up a set of these will be back on for 2019's adventures!