Get A Grip On Performance



Bridgestone’s latest flagship tyre, the Potenza S007A, provides supercar performance for the everyday Singaporean driver

SINGAPORE –
At a basic level, humans are aspirational. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just how our brains are hard-wired; to always seek improvement, or to find something better for ourselves. It’s why we strive for that promotion, study hard to be top of the class, or exercise to become fitter.

As a shortcut to that, it’s also why we want to buy items that are either better than its predecessor, or better fits our needs: the latest smartphone for example, or more comfortable clothing, or fancier equipment for our hobbies.

It’s the same deal for our cars. Whether it’s speed, comfort, or safety, we can always find something to improve, and the easiest way to do that is to start from the ground up – at the tyres.

You’ve likely heard Formula One drivers lament a lost race because of tyres, and that’s because they are the probably the single most important and cost-effective performance upgrade you can put on a regular car.

And if you’re going for the best upgrade you can get, then look no further than the Bridgestone Potenza range, which is Bridgestone’s highest-performing range of tyres.

Unlike the Turanza and Ecopia ranges, which focus on comfort and economy respectively, Bridgestone Potenzas are all about the thrill of driving.

The latest model, the Potenza S007A, is the most thrilling yet. Developed with performance cars in mind – such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, BMW M cars, Mercedes-AMGs, and the Porsche 911 – the S007A musters up more grip in the dry, remains more stable at high speeds, and provides quicker responses to driver inputs, while at the same time being more resistant to wear than its predecessor, the S001.

A tyre’s grip is derived from the friction between it and the road. The more friction there is, the more grip. One of the most effective ways to increase friction is by having more rubber in contact with the road – it’s the reason why racing cars use slick tyres.

As a road-going tyre, the S007A of course still requires tread (the grooves in the tyre) to cope with wet conditions, but it maximises its contact with the road in other ways. The treadblocks for instance, are chamfered (or rounded off at the corners) to resist deformation under heavy loads, which is especially beneficial for shortening braking distances.

The sipes (the little slits that cut almost perpendicular to the tread) are also shaped like an ‘M’ (instead of a conventional vertical line) for the same reason, and in this case helps prolong tyre life in addition to providing enhanced control on the road.

Apart from how much rubber touches the road, another major determinant of grip is what the tyre is actually made of. Different tyres are actually composed of different materials; in the S007A’s case, it uses a High Grip compound with Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech technology, where the silica within the compound exhibits higher frictional force at the molecular level, and thus reduces energy loss in the tyre during driving.

To a driving enthusiast though, quantifiable grip isn’t the only important characteristic; subjective feel is crucial too, which is why how a tyre is put together makes a difference.

To that end, the S007A features a stiffened central rib (the middle of the tread) to improve the tyre’s stability, as well as a Kevlar “flipper” (a strip of material that spans the sidewall and tyre bead) to reinforce the tyre interior and prevent excessive movement. To the driver, both these features manifest themselves as more consistent feel through the steering wheel.

Improved grip, more sensitive feel and enhanced longevity – there’s a lot of characteristics that make the S007A a winner. But don’t just take our word for it: Supercar companies such as Aston Martin and Ferrari factory-fit their cars with the Potenza S007, which is perhaps the greatest endorsement of all.

The Bridgestone Potenza S007A is available in 45 different sizes, for rims from 16- to 20-inches, and in 30 to 55 tyre profiles. Prices start from $156; check out https://www.bridgestone.com.sg/en/tyre/potenza-s007a for more information.

about the author

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Jon Lim
CarBuyer's latest addition is its fourth historical Jonathan. Old-fashioned in all but body, he thinks car design peaked in the '90s. He also strongly believes any car can be a race car if you have a sufficient lack of self-preservation, which explains why he nearly flipped a Chinese van while racing it.