View Full Version : The 25th hour, testing Michelin Pilot Super Sports (MPSS) from East to West coast

07-18-2011, 10:57am
Back in May, I was able to attend the Florida and California Michelin "25th Hour" events. It was basically the same testing as in Dubai (Nov 2010) but for the North American performance car crowd. It is named as such due to all the information that is downloaded and shared right after the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Once these events were set up, the participants chosen were routed through a unique Michelin Website similar to a Facebook group. Lots of information about the event and what was to come was shared through it.

The tire to be tested is once again the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

The First event was held at Palm Beach International Raceway (the old MOROSO track) The 2nd was held in Fontana at the California Speedway. Each day started off with registration and a briefing session focused on SAFTEY. During the session Michelin reminded us how important our feedback is and that “US” test drivers are hard to replace so listen to your instructors!!!! . The Michelin Team and their Professional test drivers then went on to discuss the tire, how it got to be as good as it is and the overall schedule for each ½ day event. Michelin claims the PSS has 12% better handling and lasts twice as long as its nearest competitors - a big claim to make, but I verified it once again as I flat out drove the tires off these cars and worn the rubber off some competitors’ tires !!! Michelin uses this proprietary rubber compound that ensures this tire longevity on many of their tire brands…….including tires for skid steers (Bobcat machines)………..hum, maybe some testing on those next

Each day the 20 or so invited public test drivers were broken up into 3 test groups ……now the fun starts.
The group I was in was first at the dry/wet braking test with Michelin Pilot Super Sport vs. the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric. The cars were once again 328i's that were equipped with the same size tire on each car. They were equipped with a Drift Box to record the stopping distance in the car. For the dry test we accelerated to ~55 mph, then coasted to the brake point and nail the brake pedal letting the ABS system do its job. This was then repeated in a dry area at a speed of ~45 mph. Biggest thing I noticed once again in the wet testing was less ABS modulation with the PSSs and the telemetry numbers showed the PPS stopped from two to ten feet shorter and the wet feel was firmer.
My group was 2nd at the autocross. The FL & CA courses were set up to include two slaloms and had decreasing radius sweepers, heavy brake zones, etc . We were first driven out by a pro driver for a couple of laps to get a feel for the course. Then we each drove three laps in two new BMW 328i automatics which were identically set up except one car had the Pilot Super Sports and the other had the Continental Extreme Contact DW, which was Tire Rack's #1 seller. Once again I pushed the limits of both tires/cars hard. First I drove the Conti-equipped car, my hands position at speed were in the 3:30pm-8:30pm position to maintain some speed on course compared to a consistent 12pm-6pm for the PSS's. I did start my hand position at 9am and 3pm.......The Contis felt mushy and pushy around the sweepers and in the slaloms I almost lost it once as I was in too hot for these tires! The Conti car clearly wanted to push at the limit and didn't respond well to sharp steering inputs at all . Now onto the PPS equipped BMW. Immediately I could feel the difference even during braking. The tires were much more predictable at the limit and kept the car much better controlled inline. They had much more gripability when I intentionally once again pushed the limits of car and tire. As before, the PSS rewards the driver with very precise turns when asked no matter when. Once again I was impressed in the difference on the relatively small course in FL but on the higher speed in CA it was even more obvious. After all the other drivers finished, the cars were pulled up so all could see how the tires looked after being abused. It was obvious why the Conti's pushed........the Conti's tread had rolled over and deformed quite a bit more than the PSS. Here are a few pictures I took, you can see for yourself which tire I would jump in and drive 100 miles. I think the PSS are worth the ~30% more in cost compared to the closest other tire:



And last but certainly not the least was the road course. Now in the USA, we are to flog new Lexus IS-Fs with the same size PSS and Pirelli P-Zero Neros. First up was the PSS equipped car. It was very predictable at speed ~100mph and composed, with a max grip at the limit and the tires talked back consistently so you could hear how close to the edge one was. I did some high speed emergency lane changes or as tech folks say transient maneuvers in FL & CA and the PSS were very comforting and performed excellently to the sharp turns at speed while the Pirellis were soft and made me want to go for the brakes as I was not confident and thought I could lose traction on the straight away!!!!!!! The PSSs should make any driver performing an emergency lane change feel very confident that all will turn out well. Next up was the Pirelli equipped car, once again the car feels completely different. I verified the tire pressures and sizes were the same, but dam...........Michelins correct use of the Twaron® fiber belt is obvious as the contact patch is so much more stable on the PSSs vs. anyone else’s tires. My hand position on the wheel was the same as above when driving this car in the same manner as I did with the PSS tires. I braked late on the long straights to get a feel of the tire under hard braking, again the PSS were so much more stable.

Now come the HOTLAPS in The HERO cars.
Neither Kelly or I have ever been in a GT-R, so off we went to figure it out. Out of all The other cars, the WOW factor for me was the GTR. It is an amazing machine, one of the best performing 4 door AWD cars you can own. Sounds like a jet taking off with traction aids turned off and being shod with the PSS, no surprise the GTR with PSS's won the One Lap of America this year.

I think the side-by-side comparisons really opened many eyes. These were really good tires the PSS was up against, and time and time again it was immediately noticeable that it was better. There was no, "well it was close". It was hands down better.

A big thanks goes out to Kim, Kip, Doug, Dirk, the entire Michelin Road Show team (Many unsung heroes working the pits) and the race car teams that took time out to show us their stuff. They made the whole experience at both venues very smooth and educational.

A special thanks to a few I spent a lot of time with on and off track in both places; Roland Linder, Didier Theys, Tania(spooky)Bourbonnais and Kelly Collins. I got plenty of driving instruction and like a sponge absorbed every word. This was a professionally run event and it felt like it! The only (2) things that could make it better………..more track time and on the road time in a Corvette shod with PSSs!!!

PS, 7/14/11, tire rack just tested 4 tires including the MPSS
Clash of the Titans: Testing Two New Max Performance Summer Heavy Hitters (http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=148)

If you want to know how to get invited, it would be wise to check out the Michelin facebook page and here:
The Alley: Trackside (http://www.michelinalley.com/)

Now go burn some tires, I know I will

07-18-2011, 04:05pm
Nice review and thanks for sharing this info with us.:cheers:

You are a lucky man to be involved in such things.

07-19-2011, 07:42am
Nice review and thanks for sharing this info with us.:cheers:

You are a lucky man to be involved in such things.

Thanks Bro, I just tell it like it is. 1st time I have driven any tire that obviously performs better than the competitors!

You too could be invited to the next one.............I am not a proffesinal and did not stay at a HI any night this year........so........far:)
Sorry to see another RatPacker goin, but please infest MI :shots:

07-21-2011, 07:23am
Good review. :cool:

12-05-2011, 01:29pm
Michelin will be expanding their Pilot Super Sport size lineup in the middle of the first quarter of 2012.

Here's the new sizes for 2012

205/45ZR17 (88Y)XL
245/45ZR17 (99Y)XL
205/40ZR18 (86Y) XL
215/40ZR18 (89Y) XL
235/50ZR18 (101Y) XL
245/35ZR18 (92Y) XL
255/30ZR19 (91Y) XL
255/40ZR19 (100Y) XL
255/45ZR19 (104Y) XL
275/40ZR19 (105Y) XL
285/40ZR19 (107Y) XL
325/30ZR19 (105Y) XL
345/30ZR19 (109Y) XL
245/45ZR20 (103Y) XL
255/40ZR20 (101Y) XL
255/45ZR20 (105Y) XL
265/30ZR20 (94Y) XL
285/35ZR20 (104Y) XL
335/30ZR20 (108Y) XL

02-12-2012, 12:30am
Sounds fabulous. :cool: