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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


What can a tire do for you? To most, a tire is just another unwanted expense as a car owner. I believe that I was 11 years old the first time I laid my eyes on the original Pilot Sports, I just knew that there was something special about them.
If you wanted a tire that had great performance and did not sound like 38” swampers, the next generation in the Pilot Sport series were your go-to tires. The Pilot Sport PS2s.

In April, I received an email from Michelin; it was an invitation to try out the new Pilot Super Sports at California Speedway. I was very excited to try them out since I have heard great things about this new tire from a similar event that was held in Dubai earlier this year.
I'm going to try and not make this look like an advertisement but it will be difficult as I was seriously impressed by this tire, Michelin makes a great product.

The five of us pile into my tiny Volkswagen Golf and depart Orange County at 6:00am to be at California Speedway in Fontana by 7:30am. We didn’t have time to get breakfast since we had no idea how traffic would be this early in the morning but to our delight, breakfast was waiting for us when we got there.







After an awesome introduction to the “Hero Cars” Michelin split us into three buses and had three driving events set up for us to compare the new Pilot Super Sport against its direct competitors. All cars were set up exactly the same, identical sizes, wheels, and tire pressures following that of the manufactures recommended settings.



BMW 328i Coupe
Autocross: Michelin Super Sport VS Continental Extreme Contact DW

Lexus IS-F
Track: Michelin Super Sport VS Pirelli PZero Nero

BMW 328i Coupe
Braking: Michelin Super Sport VS Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric





Autocross

We first took out the car equipped with Michelin rubber. The tires were predictable, balanced, and had a progressive washout when you started to reach the limits of the grip. This tire felt great as you enter the slalom under hard brakes! Switching into the car with the Continental tires, pushing the car in a sweeping turn, you notice that the car does not transmit the same level confidence to the driver like the Michelins do. Traction control was off but stability was left on on. The Pilot Super Sports held the car planted through the transitions while the Continentals were not able to.

We were told that the Extreme Contact DWs are the highest consumer rated tires on TireRack. With these tires, under steer lead to over steer which then resulted in a few cones being knocked over :D.
The continentals became less and less predictable as the temperatures of the tires rose.

At the end of every ones runs we looked at the degradation of the tires side by side. It was clearly visible that at the end of the day the Continentals showing their cord while the Michelins showed even wear all around and looked like they could have gone out for a few more laps.







After ~25 laps:
Continentals -


Michelins -


At the end of the day:
Continentals -

Michelins -


Track


I lucked out by getting into the Lexus IS-F with Didier Theys behind the wheel for some introductory laps. What an honour it was to have Dider by my side as my driving instructor. I still have a hard time believing it!

This event was on the Infield course which I have never had a chance to drive, but Didier made it a cinch. The tire we were comparing against the Pilot Super Sport was the Pirelli Nero Zero. Keep in mind that this Pirelli is OEM equipment on many expensive vehicles, not a bad tire by any means.
This test made the differences between the Pilot Super Sport and its competitors most obvious
The difference between the PZero Nero and the Pilot Super Sports was astounding.

We took out the Michelin car first, and as expected the car went exactly where I asked it to. Fantastic tires. Minimal under steer and the ability to come out of corners with nearly 100% throttle. In the Zero Nero equipped car right off the bat you notice that the car is not as eager to turn in and does not feel as planted, squirmy compared to the PSS. Exiting corners now requires you to constantly remind yourself not to push the LOL pedal down so far. Slower speed corners had quite a bit of under steer and exiting the corner led to over steer! Getting the Pirelli car sideways was easier than it should have been. :D
I wish I could have taken out the PSS car again for another few laps to not leave the impression that the IS-F is a pig... The Pirellis made the IS-F feel very clumsy around the track.




Braking

Back in the 328i for this test. The differences between the two tires was not so obvious here.
Each driver had 2 laps/4 panic stops (1 dry and 1 wet). We had a device in the cars to measure stopping distances which were then logged to calculate our average. We started this test in the competitor tire car - the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric in a split fitment (225/255).

Under both dry and wet braking both tires felt similar but the Michelin car seemed to bite harder just as the car came to a stop. I also noticed ABS Cycling a little more with the Goodyear car as well as requiring some steering correction in the wet braking test.







Celebrity Driver - Hero Car Laps

The best part of the day.. All three groups were bussed to the infield course with a fantastic roster of Hero Cars and Celebrity Drivers waiting for us.

Ferrari 458 - Didier Theys
Nissan GTR - Kelly Collins
Aston Martin DB9 - Roland Linder
Audi R8 - (I believe one of Michelin's test drivers was piloting the R8)
As well as the 2 Michelin IS-Fs
Professional Drifter Tania Bourbonnais was taking people out in one of the IS-Fs





Unfortunately I was only able to get into the 458 but Im glad that I decided to go with that car first.

I get into the car, put on my seat belt and away we went! Didier asked me if I had ever been in a Ferrari before, as we were exiting the pits.. When I answered “no” is when we took off.

I have nothing to say other than Holy smokes! This man can DRIVE! Having him as an instructor was something that I would have never expected at a driving event like this. Having him drive me around California Speedway at 10/10ths was just..... incredible. At the end of our hot laps my cheeks were sore from how hard I was smiling. In the words of my friend’s girlfriend “That was better than skydiving”

Oh yeah, the 458 is a brilliant car!

























* Some pictures were borrowed from Michelin photographers
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some more pics!





















 

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PS2 are great tires, but the pricing is a bit over the top.
this will continue to be the stigma against Michelin tires. LOOK at the pictures. Look at TireRack, if you will. The Michelin tires flat out perform and outlast the competition. As soon as people realize the four points touching the pavement are the most important ones, they will justify the difference in cost.

FWIW, I work in the passenger/light truck industry and I see everything from the cheapest to most expensive tires. I drive on Michelins. I don't work for Michelin. I've had opportunities to drive on Michelin, GoodYear, Yokohama, Continetal, Pirelli, and Bridgestone tires on closed course environments and all ranges of speeds. I can tell you want a tire manufacturers representive's face looks like when you tell him his tire is terrible. :D

The Conti DW and DWS tires a great performers. However, they are not the best performers. Continental Tire reps to this to me, straight up. They produce tires to a price point that perform almost as well as better tires. There is no secret that better performing tires usually cost more.
 

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Was this event a lead in to an ALMS race? Looks like a fun day :thumbup:

A friend of mine has a set of PSS. They seem like they're all business on the road and track. But still ride quiet, comfortable, and wear a suit to work. You have to be willing to shell out the cash for them though.
 

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That looks like a fun time, thanks for sharing the pictures.

I have conti Extreme Contact DWS tires on my car and I simply can't complain about them. They replaced the OEM set of ContiTouring tires which were ok for about 10k miles, but then slowly went downhill. For the price, the wear, and the overall, grip they were a terrible tire. But I really like my DWSs. Are there better tires out there? Sure, no doubt, but they were the best value out there. For a daily driver, I don't see the point in spending a ton of cash on fancy tires, when more affordable tires will more than do the job. For the track, I can see spending more, but then again, unless I'm running a stock or close to stock suspension, I'm probably going for some DOT legal track tires.
 

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That looks like a fun time, thanks for sharing the pictures.

I have conti Extreme Contact DWS tires on my car and I simply can't complain about them. They replaced the OEM set of ContiTouring tires which were ok for about 10k miles, but then slowly went downhill. For the price, the wear, and the overall, grip they were a terrible tire. But I really like my DWSs. Are there better tires out there? Sure, no doubt, but they were the best value out there. For a daily driver, I don't see the point in spending a ton of cash on fancy tires, when more affordable tires will more than do the job. For the track, I can see spending more, but then again, unless I'm running a stock or close to stock suspension, I'm probably going for some DOT legal track tires.
I have a set of DWS shoes as well and they are significantly better than the Bridgestone RE050As they have replaced. I don't doubt the Michelins are great tires, but I certainly have no use for their extra capabilities on public roads.
 

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I have had one set of PS2's and two sets of original Pilot Sports. While the may have great grip, I found them to be unacceptably loud, especially on the LA freeways, where they exhibited quite a bit of resonance on any stretch of road that wasn't either perfectly smooth or brand new asphalt.
 

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use to get PS2's on my gf's m3 but they wore out too fast every 12-14k it was another $700-800 for rears tires :banghead:

im on michelin pe2's right now which are pretty good for the price, but my next set are conti dw's. i wish i could afford michelin ps2's. i am a firm believer that you do not skimp out on tires.
A secret for you: tire makers will subsidize the price of their tires to OEMs to win the contract, and then jack up the price for replacement tires because they know so many people will buy them just because they are original equipment.

So ... expensive tires aren't always great. Personally, I disregard price as an indication of quality in tires.
 

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PS2 are great tires, but the pricing is a bit over the top.
Thats exactly how I feel. I drive ~30k per year...I can't be spending 1200 a year on just tires. I'm riding on Conti DW's that are pretty good. They're quiet, ride well and are grippy, but if the tire pressures are wrong then they get kinda sloppy.

Edit: Just checked prices online...the supersports are actually fairly reasonably priced, not far off of the DWs. Maybe next year.
 
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