This past week, a couple of our staff had the opportunity to check out Pirelli Tire’s Learn and Drive program and get to experience some of Pirelli’s tires first hand.
Pirelli hosts this event a few times a year across the country to allow their dealers to come and experience their tires first hand. They held this years event up at Westerner’s Park in Red Deer, Alberta.
This year, Pirelli had 3 different courses for us to try out. An off-road course with their brand new yet to be released off-road tires, their “dry” circuit (ironic because it was raining the entire event), and their wet condition course.
We had the pleasure of starting off with their offroad course. We loaded up into a fleet of Ford F150’s equipped with Pirelli’s new off-road tire. Unfortunately, I can’t mention what the tire is, because it hasn’t been publicly released. We were some of the first people in Canada to see and experience it.
The off site off-road course consisted of 3 different tasks. A hill climb, elephant holes, and a stepped ledge climb.
The course was pretty wet and mucky because of the constant rain, but even in the heavy thick mud, these new off-road tires managed to climb the hill no problem.
You can see in the second picture the angle of the slop we had to climb. With the new Pirelli off-road tires that can’t be named (sorry), we managed to take the hill with ease.
After the hill climb, we moved over to the Elephant holes. Elephant holes, if you aren’t familiar with off-roading, are deep holes dug into the dirt, with a mound of dirt right after.
While going over the elephant holes, there would be times where only 2 tires where contacting the ground. Even with 2 tires making contact, clearing this obstacle was an ease.
The last section of the off-road course was their stepped hill climb. Instead of being muddy, this hill was actually a hard packed sand/gravel mix. Making things more slippery was the long grass.
The objective was to go up the stepped portion of the hill straight on, then rotate the truck to the right (by the pylons), and carry on. Even with the slippery grass and loose terrain under truck, the new off-road tires had tons of traction. I was extremely surprised about the performance of these tires. Even after being packed heavily with thick mud, they still had exceptional traction in all conditions. Even driving back to Westerners park, the design of the tires siping allowed the tires to clear the excessive mud in a short period of time. I’m very excited about this tire, but will have to wait a few weeks until Pirelli has made it public, so keep your eye out for a future blog post.
As you can see, we got these trucks pretty dirty.
Next up, we headed over to their “dry” track. We had to laugh when they explained to us they had a dry and wet course for us, while standing outside in the pouring rain.
The purpose of the dry course was for us to experience the limits of the different tires in dry conditions on the type of vehicles they were designed for. The vehicles that were provided were a Dodge Durango riding on a set of Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season Plus tires, a Chevrolet Equinox on a set of Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season Plus tires, a Chevrolet Malibu on a set of Cinturato P7 All season tires, and a Cadillac ATS on a set of P Zero All Season Plus tires. Yes, there was a Lamborghini Gallardo there, but I’ll get back to that later.
The course was designed to mimic extremes that a normal driver would face on the street. There were some chicanes, sweeping corners, 160 degree hairpins and a slalom section of the course course. All of the tires we tested performed extremely well, even in the +4 degree weather we were testing them in. Most of these tires are designed to be operated in warmer temperatures, but even being down close to the freezing mark and on wet surfaces, the tires all performed exceptionally.
Our favourite vehicle tire combo of the dry course was the Dodge Durango RT riding on the Pirelli Scorpion Zero All Season Plus tires. Even for a large vehicle with a heavy curb weight, the truck felt nimble, planted and even with some, lets call it “Spirited” driving, the Pirelli Scorpion Zero’s stuck to the pavement with an exception grip and no drama.
After a quick warm up, we moved over to the wet course. Pirelli provided us with the same vehicles and tire combinations but instead of a road course, they set up a peanut shaped course and brought out the water truck.
The water truck added additional water to the already wet ground to create a “worse case scenario” level of moisture. They wanted to show how well the each of the tires performed in conditions that would be similar to those of a massive downpour where hydroplaning could occur. The course was a sweeping left handed turn with a slight chicane in the middle of it. It was designed to show the level of grip on each tire if there was a quick change of direction required (mimicking avoiding debris in the road). All of the tires and vehicles provided felt composed and had exceptional grip. After we finished, we sat and actually had to think about anything negative about the tires and we couldn’t come up with anything.
We finally got a chance to go inside and warm up and check out these tires up-close and learn more about them from the Pirelli reps.
Sorry again, can’t say anything about the new off-road tire.
After a quick warm up, they decided to show us how good their tires really perform. We headed back outside and got a chance to go for a ride in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 and a Jaguar F-Type S-Convertible. With professional drivers on site, who work for Pirelli, but other driving schools such as the AMG Driving Academy, we set out for some quick hot laps. The professional drivers knew the vehicles and their limits and pushed the cars to them. Even in the cold weather, wet conditions and in a parking lot full of gravel, both cars equipped with Pirelli’s were very smooth and had a ton of traction lap after lap.
After a long day behind the wheel and in the classroom learning about Pirelli’s great lineup of tires, we sadly had to head back to the real world. We had an amazing time, learned lots about Pirelli’s tires both in the technical side of things, but more importantly, a first hand experience on how their tires behave in the real world.