Goodyear UltraGrip 9: the new benchmark?
For the launch of its latest winter tyre, the UltraGrip 9, Goodyear welcomed us to its research and development centre. A great way to understand how this tyre was designed.
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The UltraGrip’s long career has been punctuated with several changes that have allowed this tyre to achieve a level of performance acknowledged by several organisations and corroborated by numerous tests. As a result, the ninth UltraGrip has a lot of weight on its shoulders: do better than its predecessor and stand up to keener competition.
Highly sophisticated development
The visit to Goodyear’s research and development centre in Luxembourg shows the extent of the measures taken to develop number 9.
Even before development of the tyre began, Goodyear had prepared the specifications for a product designed to meet the real conditions facing drivers: Dry roads, snow, ice, wet roads … Not forgetting the basic performances that a tyre in today’s modern world should offer such as longevity, comfort or rolling resistance.
A revolutionary compound
Goodyear has developed a unique compound featuring new elements such as plasticiser, the challenge being to improve grip at low temperatures, without comprising the tyre’s longevity and energy efficiency.
Two different profiles!
For the first time, Goodyear is marketing a winter tyre available with two different tread designs. These different versions can be explained by a quest for performance, whatever the tyre size. This means that certain versions will have an extra centre rib, and others not.
The finely tuned design of tread blocks ensures perfect traction and outstanding grip. Blocks are connected by an interlocking system to ensure maximum tread stiffness when braking, without affecting the flexibility required for traction. Water evacuation has also been the focus of much attention.
Validation of performance
To validate the efficiency of the UltraGrip 9 in real life conditions, no less than 3000 prototypes were created and 70 different tread combinations were analysed based on 50 distinct performance characteristics over more than 500 000 kilometres (approximately 310 000 miles) of tests
We got the chance to take the Ultragrip 9 for a preview drive to evaluate characteristics such as wet grip, comfort, responsiveness… Despite very positive first impressions, we will wait for the first test results to see how it compares with its competitors, the Michelin Alpin 5 for starters.
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