Michelin Pilot Super Sport: interview with project leader Jean-François Beaupère
To enable you to learn more about the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, we met the project leader for this new sports tyre for an interview in the paddocks of the Dubai autodrome.
On the same topic
Rezulteo: What are Michelin's objectives for the Pilot Super Sport?
Jean-François Beaupère: We want the Pilot Super Sport to become the leading high-performance product for original and retrofit markets, in terms of business but also image. It has to pull our whole range upwards.
rz: What are your sales forecasts?
JFB: Difficult to answer as these data are confidential, however, I can give you a few clues as to the evolution in the sector. The market for super-sports cars should grow by 20% in the new 5 years in Europe, and we are expecting an increase in the sports tyre market of 30% over the same period.
rz: What is the market potential for such a tyre? And in which geographical sectors?
JFB: We believe strongly in markets in emerging countries, in particular in China, whose sports car market should grow fivefold over the next 5 years, and Asia in general. Russia, North America and Europe remain considerable markets.
rz: What is your original fitment strategy?
JFB: Absolute priority is given to our partners such as Porsche, BMW Motorsport, Ferrari, but also to modifiers like AMG. Competition in the segment that the Pilot Super Sport is in is tough, as car makers are very demanding for this type of vehicle.
rz: How is the Pilot Super Sport positioned compared to the Pilot Sport 3?
JFB: The Pilot Sport 3 is mainly aimed at small and medium-sized sports cars, like the Clio RS, the Golf GTi, the Golf R etc… but also at roadsters like the Audi TT, and sports fittings on some saloons. The Pilot Super Sport is aimed at more exclusive vehicles such as those we are offering today to test the tyre: Koenigsegg Agera, Gumpert Apollo, Mercedes SLS AMG, Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 997 Turbo etc…
rz: Does the Pilot Super Sport have dimensions in common with the Pilot Sport Cup?
JFB: Yes, especially for some Porsche fittings. The 235/35x19 for example. However, these tyres are not aimed at the same type of user. The Pilot Sport Cup is aimed squarely at enthusiastic drivers who may throw in a few laps at the race track. The Pilot Super Sport is more versatile with exceptional performance in the dry, and efficiency equivalent to that of the Pilot Sport 3 in the wet.
rz: What is your strategy for demonstrating the performance of the Pilot Super Sport? A record on the Nürburgring?
JFB: The first elements we can give you are the results obtained by the Pilot Super Sport in a test conducted by the TüV SüD. It was faster than its competitors by 1 second on a lap of the Papenburg track.
We are not ruling out the Nürburgring, but the track's new management is giving more priority to private individuals than to companies and we haven't been able to fix a date yet
Our warmest thanks to Jean-François Beaupère for his availability
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