It’s a cold and windy day at The Bend Motorsport Park, hardly ideal conditions for track driving as it means the tyres will struggle to get up to the right temperature to provide grip… or at least that should be the case.
Thankfully the Hyundai i30 Sedan N I’m driving is fitted with the latest Michelin Pilot Sport 5 (PS5) tyres. Torquecafe was invited to the expansive South Australian circuit to sample the new PS5 rubber, as well as the brand’s specific tyres for electric vehicles – Pilot Sport EV.
The PS5 joins an expanding Pilot Sport range, with the current line-up including the Pilot Sport 3, Pilot Sport 4, Pilot Sport EV, Pilot Sport SUV, Pilot Super Sport, Pilot Sport 4S and the Pilot Sport Cup 2.
Each one plays a different role in the range, with some more obvious than others, but all have been designed with dynamic driving in mind. As Michelin Australia marketing manager, Hugo De-Boischevalier, explains, people who buy Pilot Sport tyres aren’t just looking for something to get them from Point A to Point B but want a tyre that can make the journey more fun.
All of them have some element of motorsport knowledge in them too, with both the PS5 and PSEV taking lessons from Michelin’s experience in Formula E, where it uses an all-weather tyre rather than a typical racing slick.
This has taught Michelin some valuable lessons that they’ve now applied to the rubber you can buy on the road. For example, the PS5 uses what Michelin calls the ‘dual tread design’ which has a different tread pattern on the inner and outer half of the tyre. The inner side is designed primarily to channel water away in the rain while the outer side of the tyre provides superior grip in the dry.
Another Formula E lesson that has applied for the Pilot Sport EV is a piece of sound-deadening foam that’s built into the inside of the tyre to help cut noises that would otherwise be noticeable without the sound of a combustion engine to drown it out.
At The Bend we were able to test both these tyres across a variety of conditions to see how they perform.
The new PS5 impressed in every test, highlighting Michelin’s goal to make a tyre that can both provide grip and durability. In terms of performance we tested its limits under threshold braking and through The Bend’s variety of corners. Even in the cold conditions the PS5 offered excellent grip and meaningful feedback to the driver.
We also sampled it on a mixed wet-dry motorkhana course and again the new hoop impressed with the levels of grip it offered, especially on the wet section of the run.
They don’t just perform well when driven hard too, Michelin has worked on making its tyres more sustainable too – both in terms of production and longevity.
The French tyre giant is aiming to have 100 per cent of its tyres be renewable by 2050 so will use more recycled materials and ensure its tyres help whatever car they’re fitted to produces less carbon emissions. The company claims the PS5 will produce 20 per cent fewer particle emissions compared to the Pilot Sport 4.
At the same time, Michelin is working to make sure its tyres last longer, therefore reducing the overall toll on the environment. This means Michelin has made the PS5 more durable and added new wear indicators so you can keep a closer eye on how much life you have left on them.
The Pilot Sport 5 is available in 42 dimensions, ranging from 17- to 21-inch wheels, and is on sale now.