Goodyear back on track

New range of high performance tyres from Goodyear to take on Michelin as default option for Porsche drivers


‘Back on track’ is the mantra from Goodyear as the tyre manufacturer launched its new range of Eagle F1 SuperSport tyres into the UUHP sector. The what? That’s the ultra, ultra high- performance sector of the tyre market, which is a thing and a thing that for Porsche enthusiasts has been very much occupied and dominated by Michelin, which has become pretty much the default option for serious rubber fetishists. Goodyear’s move into this market, with a three-tyre line-up, is a serious sign of intent. As was a major launch at the Ascari Race Resort in Spain.

Traditionally Goodyear has left the high-performance side of its operation to sister brand, Dunlop, but for various internal reasons that are rather dull, Goodyear now needs its own range of UUHP tyres for manufacturer OE fitments and to break into the enthusiast market, where tyres like the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup have ruled.

The SuperSport range is three-tiered, starting with the ‘standard’ SuperSport and progressing to more track focused tyres, with ever diminishing tread depth and stickier compounds. The entry SuperSport features a bridged dual-compound tread for wet and dry performance, with stiff ribs to aid load transfer and a stiff sidewall, that Goodyear claim doesn’t affect ride comfort. There are wide tread blocks on the outer shoulder for high-speed cornering and the range comprises of 25 fitments, from 18 to 21 in rims, 45-30 aspect ratios and 205-305mm widths.

Sitting in the middle is the SuperSport R. This is a semi track- focused tyre, which Goodyear claim is designed to increase steering precision and grip, with fewer tread grooves and, like the SuperSport, features ‘bridges’ between the tread blocks on the outer shoulder of the tyre to reduce tread block flex and deformation. Goodyear say that feedback and steering have been further enhanced, with more consistent pressure across the tyre surface and ultimately grip on the road/track surface. Goodyear has targeted the 911 GT3 for this tyre and it is N rated, too, with ten sizes covering the same span as the non-R version, but with the profile dropping to 25.

Top dog is the SuperSport RS. It’s at the extreme end of street legal, with minimal tread and grooves and with a race derived compound and featuring the same trademark, tread block connecting ‘bridges’ on the outer grooves. The SuperSport RS will be made in just two sizes: 265/35 ZR20 and 325/30 ZR21. Porsche will be speccing it as a track option for the GT3 and GT2 RS.

So this is where we reveal just how good the new tyres are on track… Ah, not so fast. Sure, we had a crack at some lateral loading laps, most notably in a fleet of GT3 RSs fitted with the SuperSport R, but I’m afraid the nature of these things means that real judgement will have to be reserved. That said, on a testing section of the Ascari track, we did manage to play the Porsche specialist mag card and get two sessions at the wheel of a GT3 RS, with a Goodyear test driver intent on pushing us to ever higher cornering speeds and quick direction changes. Grip was to be expected, but perhaps it was the feel through the steering that really filtered through. Whatever, we look forward to more time with the tyre in the future.

We also tried the SuperSport on Renault’s fabulous new Alpine, which is a manual gearbox away from genius, and the SuperSport again on a Ferrari 488, both on different courses and, in the case of the Alpine, with part of the track wetted. Again, no massive conclusions here except to say that Porsche should be looking very carefully at the lightweight Alpine and surely it’s about time that long rumoured, mid-engined Porsche rival to Ferrari and McLaren etc materialised.

Finally, it’s clear that Goodyear is taking its entry into the UUHP sector very seriously and we will be looking at the results of forthcoming independent tyre test very carefully. We will be running a set of either SuperSport or SuperSport R (or maybe even both) ourselves on project cars, so will be able to report back first hand on Goodyear’s new range,

Tyre fetishists have a new premium rubber option in the shape of Goodyear’s Eagle F1 SuperSport range. We tried the Goodyear SuperSport R on a 911 GT3 RS at the Ascari Race Resort. It was a brief drive but steering feel and grip were impressive.

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