Pzero Experience: the Lotus Evora test
As part of the Pzero Experience, Pirelli gave us the opportunity to take to the wheel of the famous Lotus Evora fitted with Pzero tyres, a chance to put them to the test on one of the best race tracks in France.
The Paul-Ricard track, also known as Castellet is a symbol of French motor sports. Its route with multiple combinations frenetically alternating between straights and bends, requires several hours of driving to memorize it and get to grips with its mysteries.
The special feature of this track is the succession of very fast sections, with slow, technical corners. A real test for the axles, but also and above all for the tyres!
To allow us to discover this track, Pirelli treated us to the unjustly unknown English car: The Lotus Evora. This 2 + 2 coupé fitted with a V6 3.5l engine with 280 horsepower weighs 1350 kilos. Its concept strays slightly from the "light is right" adage usually attributed to this maker's products, but its position is slightly different and aims at the Porsche Cayman, Audi TT RS, etc.
As far as pure performance is concerned, it does 1000 metres start/stop in 26.2 seconds with a top speed of 262 kph. High performance undoubtedly but a long way from the average measured during the Pzero Experience. But the Evora was never reputed for its speed in straight lines, rather in the bends due to its exceptional chassis.
On your marks!
Just enough time to note that our car is fitted with Pirelli Pzero in 225/40x18 on the front axle and 255/35x 19 on the rear axle, and we're off. The first bends highlight outstanding balance, and totally natural reactions. Handling is fluid, the car is agile, and although the engine seems to lack somewhat in the long straights compared to the Porsche GT2, Ferrari F599 and co, it more than makes up for it in the bends.
The Pirelli Pzero tyres bite the tarmac. They give the car unrivalled agility allowing for excellent mobility, and a specially incisive front axle. There is good graduality and the level of grip for road tyres is impressive. It is especially evident in the Beausset double right-hander which really puts the front tyres to the test. The forces are considerable in this very fast corner that suddenly closes out transferring all the weight to the front axle. As often in this type of situation, the first fuse (after the driver) is the tyre. On this point, nothing to say.
The laps follow and the pace quickens, the Evora shows impressive potential with a chassis that lets the rear axle remain sufficiently mobile to hold it in the tight corners, but never to cooperative in the fast straights where, luckily, it shows impressive stability. To my great surprise, the Pirelli Pzero tyres show highly impressive endurance, despite repeated stresses and relatively long driving sessions. In fact, it is in these sort of conditions that some sports tyres demonstrate their limits, becoming treacherous as the track laps go by.
This consistency even allows us to flirt with a few much more powerful cars, that literally leave us standing in the accelerations, but which we catch up with a bit of careful braking and trajectories.
Lotus Evora and Pirelli, a couple that works? Undeniably, the two together are uniform and effective, the fine English chassis perfectly matches the grip and endurance of the Italian rubber. A few Porsche should still remember…
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