The new Dunlop Sport Maxx GT claims to be a second faster than it's closest competitors over just 1.3 miles. We find out if it's as good as they claim...
Having lived with the Falken FK452's to around half life we started considering what tyre to test next. While the Falken is a great piece of engineering there's no escaping it's at the budget end of the market and pales in comparison to a premium UHP (ultra high performance) summer tyre.
The criteria was simple, we wanted an ultra high grip summer tyre that hadn't already been tested in last years magazine group tyre tests. Immediately the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric was suggested but had already been reviewed and rated by Evo, Autocar and Tirerack last year, as was the Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta. Everyone already knows the quality of the Michelin Pilot Sport and Bridgestone RE050a so we turned to Dunlop.
The Dunlop Sport Maxx tyre was largely ignored last year and already being familiar with it's characteristics we didn't consider it, until we noticed two new additions to the range - the Sport Maxx TT and Sport Maxx GT.
The Sport Maxx TT is the Dunlop answer to the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric and offers a strong balance of wet and dry performance and good wear / noise characteristics. The Sport Maxx GT is aimed at the more 'hardcore' end of the market and sacrifices a little wet grip and life for ultimate dry road holding and driving experience. We had to try a set of these!
To ensure maximum performance Dunlop seem to have thrown every piece of technology available at the Sport Maxx GT. Instead of filling this report with technical specification and marketing lingo check out the excellent Dunlop web site here
to bring you up to speed. One piece of information really stood out to us, in a blind test these tyres lapped a 1.3 mile
circuit 1 second
faster than the direct competition. A full second over just 1.3 miles is quite incredible.
Fitting day came on a warm summer afternoon. We did a final spot of data logging on the FK452s then visited the garage to have the new rubber installed. Given we had grown quite fond of the Falkens we were a little apprehensive...
It took less than a mile of driving to put our fears to rest. The steering was alive, the increased grip clearly apparent and the car instantly felt sure footed. After a suitable amount of motoring to bed the tyres in it was time to find where the new limits were so we ambled off to our usual test section and readied the data logger...
The test route consists of 3 miles of slow and high speed corners which challenge the cars road holding, stability and feedback. We started out at a slow pace but by just the second turn the improved grip was obvious. Turn 3 is a slow right hand after a long straight which tests the cars ability to lose speed and the first time we step on the middle pedal with anger it feels like we've hit something - the retardation of the car on this rubber feels comparable to a trackday specific tyre! Later the data logger confirms it, with the Sport Maxx GT pulling an extra 0.15 G under braking than the Falken FK452s could manage.
The rest of the course continues to show how these tyres are in a class of one. The limit of grip is higher than we've experienced on any other set of tyres, the progression of the slide once grip is overcome is slow and controllable and the feedback through the steering wheel is good. The only complaint is a small amount of high speed folding, where the tyre feels like it's tucking under the rim at the front. We've felt much worse on UHP tyres, but this still disappoints us slightly.
While expensive, the Dunlop Sport Maxx GT is a tyre that excels in every way a performance driver desires. We thoroughly recommend these if you want the ultimate dry performance without sacrificing wet performance like you would with trackday rubber.