May 19, 2011

2012 Corvette Will Feature Optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup ZP

Pilot Sport ZP

Corvette’s partnership with Michelin fittingly began on the racing scene in 2004 and finally trickled down to the production side in 2009. That relationship will continue to flourish as the 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and ZR1 will come equipped with the new Michelin Pilot Sport Cup ZP. The high performance tires are included in the optional Z07 package (for the Z06) and PDE package (for the ZR1). By bringing Michelin’s renown racing technology to the street, the Cup tires offer a significant upgrade for any enthusiast to enjoy.

The Pilot Sport Cup ZP features asymmetric run-flat sidewalls that enhance the handling precision and overall cornering ability of the vehicle. The outside sidewall is engineered to be reflexive and provide a variable contact patch, while the reinforced inner sidewall brings the rigidity needed to handle extreme cornering forces. When dealing with the type of power that the ZR1 and Z06 have on tap, an inadequate tire will struggle to cope with the forces being applied when getting back on the throttle. However, the Sport Cup ZP offers “unique tuning of the production tire’s variable contact patch that enables drivers the ability to get on the power more quickly when exiting corners.”

The end result is an increase of eight percent in maximum lateral acceleration and a corner-hugging 1.1 g. The tires also improve braking distance and the overall feel of the Corvette. This all equates to better lap times at the track. Michelin claims the Sport Cup ZP’s will shave three seconds at Virginia International Raceway, according to their testing. There’s not a single horsepower upgrade (by itself) that could accomplish the same feat.

Michelin engineer Lee Willard perfectly summarized the importance of a proper sport tire with the following comment. “The tire is the only single element of a car — whether on the track or on the street — that can simultaneously improve braking, acceleration and cornering. It was natural for Corvette to tap Michelin’s extensive racing and ultra-high-performance expertise when looking for a track-tuned tire that would improve lap times and still be street legal.”

[Source: Michelin]


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