Tyres aren’t the sexiest part of the car equation but given the speed with which automotive technology has motored ahead, it makes sense to ensure your rubber matches your ride.
‘Tyre experts say we should be checking our car’s tyres at least weekly, which – I can tell you – I fail to do.’
After all, car manufacturers spend a lot of R&D time and money pairing the right tyres to their vehicles. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, for example, told me that they had Continental Tyres refine and perfect its offering 90 times before they allowed it on to the latest Phantom.
That’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Tyres matter, and finding a set that fits the bill while allowing your chosen chariot to achieve its peak performance was the subject of a recent track day Madam Wheels participated in with Bridgestone Tyres.
Journalists were invited to Victoria’s Phillip Island Circuit to compare and contrast a couple of Bridgestone’s new premium tyres with some from the older generation. Cycling through $2.5 million of cars as part of a BMW Driving Experience, the tyres were pushed through hot laps, forced into high-speed braking, through a slalom course as well as round and round on a skid pan to demonstrate their capabilities. That day is detailed in this video.
But while performance and safety matter, so too does wearability. Premium tyres can be expensive, after all, and no-one wants to have to swap them out too often. So it was good to get some more long-term feedback on the Potenza S007A’s durability from the manager of BMW’s Driving Experience, Doug Greenslade.
He says Bridgestone’s been supplying BMW with tyres for its Driving Experiences since 2015. And while he’s been happy with the product to date, the new Potenza “has shifted the needle in both performance and durability standards”.
“[It’s] proven to be a high-performing sports tyre providing very predictable handling for our activities, and the new compound and construction is delivering wear life that we’ve not seen before,” Greenslade says. He’s found the average S007A tyre life has almost doubled compared to previous tyres. “Our forecast is that we will use 200 less tyres in 2019 as a result of switching to S007A,” he says.
And at tyre prices ranging from $299 to $620, that could save motorists a pretty penny. Tyre experts say we should be checking our car’s tyres at least weekly, which – I can tell you – I fail to do. I fall into a band identified in research from IMRAS Consulting which found that 44 per cent of motorists go more than two months without inspecting their tyres.
Whoops! But it’s no laughing matter when you consider that those round, black things under your car may mean the difference between life and death. As Bridgestone’s head tech guy, Jon Tamblyn, points out, there’s just one hand print of tread per tyre connecting your car with the road.
“There’s no substitute for new tyres, especially in wet conditions,” Tamblyn says. “And if motorists think they should be replacing their tyres, they’re likely to be right.”