Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Challenging the tire dimensions found at today's cars - shouldn't we go back?

One thing that has changed a lot over the last years when you look at supercars are the tire dimensions. As an example I take the Ferrari 512 BB that featured a fat Michelin 215/70 VR 15 tire. Now compare it to the tires that are mounted to the rear wheels of a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, P305/35R20. What a difference. And even regular street cars today are equipped with these huge and "flat" tires! It's not even so clear whether this really helps the balance of the car that much. Certainly, if the tire doesn't "walk" that much then the driveability improves. But at the same time the comfort decreases and the wheels get heavier because you compensate air with aluminum. There's no return to more "normal" tire dimensions though as people think these wide wheels are cool. But we pay the price, be it in destroyed rims when parking to close or when we have to replace these wide wheels as they cost a fortune.
Now one additional thought: look at the formula one cars or other race cars. Do they have tires with similar dimensions as modern cars? No, they haven't. From a ratio width/height they actually look much more like the tires from the 512 BB, designed 25-30 years ago. Interesting, isn't it?

1 comment:

John L said...

Not only that, these new wheels and tyres look funny.