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Pirelli Runs New 18-inch Concept Tire with Lotus F1 Team

10 Jul, 2014

Pirelli’s new 18-inch concept tires formed the center of
attention at Silverstone, with Lotus F1 Team reserve driver Charles Pic giving the new
design its debut on Wednesday morning.

Pic headed out shortly after 9am in the current Lotus E22 equipped with the new 18-inch
tires and completed 14 laps of the Silverstone circuit. With the concept tire designed
principally to showcase aesthetics rather than performance, and a general-purpose
compound, the lap times were not the focus. Instead, the objective was to gauge
reaction to the very different new design, which received the thumbs up from most

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “In our view, the new tires looked
stunning fitted to the Lotus, and the reaction has already been felt all over the world.
These are just a prototype concept, but if the teams decided that they wanted us to
proceed in this direction, we have the capability to carry on development in this area and
come up with a production-ready version in a comparatively short space of time. We’ve
heard a lot of opinions already and we look forward to canvassing other opinions in the
coming weeks and months. Even though performance wasn’t by any means priority
here, the new tires still behaved exactly in line with our expectations, so we’re clearly
potentially at the beginning of a huge development curve, with the wheel and tire size
rules having remained unaltered for many years. These new tires were clearly the focus
of the test, but of course we managed to complete a lot of work for next year and the
shorter term as well, with the two days of dedicated tire testing from Ferrari, Marussia,
Lotus and Red Bull as well. Having learned a lot from the previous tire tests in Bahrain
and Barcelona, we were now able to carry out a lot of more targeted work for 2015, on a
fast and demanding circuit.”

The new tires were designed and built in accordance with Pirelli’s premium strategy in
Milan. The key technical advantage of an 18-inch tire is a stiffer sidewall that helps
maintain the structural rigidity of the tire and also makes it easier for the tire to maintain
a constant pressure – as there is less actual air inside the tire. The new tire is physically
bigger, which makes it much more relevant to the Ultra High Performance tires that are
seen on the road, leading to greater technology transfer.
The new tires tested today have the same width as the current 13-inch tires (245mm at
the front and 325mm at the rear) but a diameter that is bigger by 30mm. The weight is
approximately the same as the 13-inch tire, because although the diameter is bigger,
there is a smaller sidewall. The total weight, including the rim, is around 4 kilograms

About the author

Ryan Jones

Ryan works to strategically plan the company’s direction; in addition to serving as editor-in-chief. Raised in Montreal, Canada, Jones grew up in an automotive family as a second generation car fanatic, his father being a former ISCA competitor (1950 Mercury). As the apple did not fall far from the tree , Jones has worked on numerous show cars including his own Honda Civic which has been honored with a variety of trophies. In addition to IntunedOnline, Ryan has worked in account and operations management supporting and a variety of Fortune 500 clients.

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