2012 Sport Auto Summer Tyre Test

While some tyre tests end up testing a seemingly random selection of both new and old tyres, Sport Auto seem to have hit the sweet spot with their latest summer ultra high performance tyre test.

Using a VW Golf GTI, and testing 235/35 R19 tyres Sport Auto took a no-nonsense approach and tested 9 of the newest, and greatest tyres on the market, only omitting the brand new Dunlop Sport Maxx RT in favour of its higher performance brother, the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT.

The Top Four

Despite being one of the oldest tyres on test, the Pirelli P Zero finished in first place thanks to a strong dry performance, a very consistent 15 lap track run and the ability to still mix it with the best wet weather tyres. It’s a strong all round performance from the P Zero, showing the updates Pirelli have been putting into the P Zero are keeping it current.

In second place we have the ever high scoring Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. The Asymmetric 2 has yet to be out of the top 3 in any tyre test it has featured in, and again its near flawless wet performance leaves it just shy of first place.

Another surprising performance is provided from the traditionally “mid range” Hankook S1 Evo 2 ending up in third. It’s dry performance is bested only by the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, and it performs extremely well in the 15 consecutive lap track punishment, maintaining a strong lap time. In the wet the tyre suffers from understeer which hurt the laptimes.

Fourth place is awarded to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. The Pilot Super Sport is one of the new breed “cross over” extreme performance tyres, bridging the gap between a fast road tyre and a trackday tyre. By nature of its design, the wet performance offered wasn’t pack leading, but it comfortably sets the benchmark in the dry.

Personal requirements

With the top four tyres final score being so close, personal requirements becomes ever more important. If you’re looking for an excellent all round performance, this test would indicate the P Zero is a good bet. If you’re looking for the safest tyre on test, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 with its excellent wet scoring would be the tyre to look at, and if you’re after the ultimate handling and dry weather performance, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport is the one for you.

Results

Pirelli P Zero1st: Pirelli P Zero
Total: 230 / Dry: 139 / Wet: 91
Overall: Sensitive steering, but also very agile and very neutral on the limit - this is the Pirelli P Zero on both wet and dry surfaces. Couple that with extremely strong braking, the P Zero wins the test.

The only negative of the P Zero is a slightly wear aquaplaning and wear result.

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Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 22nd: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2
Total: 223 / Dry: 126 / Wet: 97
Overall: In wet conditions, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 a force to be reckoned with, scoring full points in almost all of the tests. In the dry, it's not quite the quickest tyre, however it has an excellent neutral balance on the limit.

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Hankook Ventus S1 evo23rd: Hankook Ventus S1 evo2
Total: 222 / Dry: 137 / Wet: 85
Overall: Even after 15 consecutive fast laps the S1 Evo2 maintains a good turn in and doesn't overheat making the Hankook one of the best in dry conditions.

In the wet, the performance drops a bit due to a strong tendency to understeer, which ultimately becomes apparent in the lap time.

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Michelin Pilot Super Sport4th: Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Total: 220 / Dry: 143 / Wet: 77
Overall: In the dry, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport is the benchmark, characterised by a quick, very precise turn in and excellent lateral grip.

Unsurprisingly for a dry optimised tyre, the Super Sport only manages an average wet performance with a particular weakness in the aquaplaning tests.

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Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT5th: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT
Total: 218 / Dry: 133 / Wet: 85
Overall: As far as the safety-relevant test such as braking or aquaplaning so, the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT the best in the field.

Not the fastest tyre in the dry but the Dunlop has a good balance, in the wet there is understeer.

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Toyo Proxes T1 Sport6th: Toyo Proxes T1 Sport
Total: 218 / Dry: 126 / Wet: 92
Overall: The Toyo T1 Sport scores extremely highly in the wet, with a good level of grip and traction and a strong resistance to aquaplaning.

In the dry the Toyo lacks some of the bite to make it to the front of the group, especially in the braking test.

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Continental ContiSportContact 5 P7th: Continental ContiSportContact 5 P
Total: 216 / Dry: 128 / Wet: 88
Overall: The Continental Sport Contact 5P follows the usual Continental methodology - braking comes first. This leaves the Sport Contact 5P excellent in both the wet and the dry braking tests and has an extremely strong aquaplaning result.

On the track there is a slight delay to the Continentals steering, and moderate understeer as you push on.

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Bridgestone Potenza S0018th: Bridgestone Potenza S001
Total: 209 / Dry: 126 / Wet: 83
Overall: The Bridgestone Potenza S 001 does not show any glaring weaknesses, but no outstanding strengths. Only in the aquaplaning tests does the Bridgestone put on a strong performance, otherwise it sits in the midfield.

Its steering is precise enough, with a tendency to understeer. When wet, the Potenza gives little feedback, and the traction is poor.

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Nokian Z G29th: Nokian Z G2
Total: 204 / Dry: 113 / Wet: 91
Overall: Good aquaplaning characteristics, a neutral handling and a high level of grip in wet conditions characterise the Nokian Z G2.

In the dry there's a slight lack of steering precision and grip which shows in the lap time, but over 15 consecutive fast laps the times remain fairly constant.

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