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Hyperactive imagination

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Hyperactive imagination

You may have noticed the sweet looking, perhaps unfamiliar monster of a vehicle on our front cover. That is a hypercar, specifically a 2015 GTA Spano from Spania GTA Tecnomotive S.L. It features a V10 twin-turbo engine capable of 925 horsepower. And a $650,000 price tag.

What the heck is a hypercar, anyway? At the very least it’s a catchy name for a supercar. At most it’s an exaggerated supercar — think super supercar.

Hypercars are especially rare, expensive and limited in number. Car and Driver says they appear “about as often as plagues of locusts.” (Whether the magazine meant a plague as found in the Bible or confused that almost supernatural event with the visit every 17 years by cicadas, you get the point.)

They are the epitome of advanced vehicle engineering. How advanced? In its June 2013 issue, Car and Driver said they are not, in any conventional sense, cars at all.

“They are idols, expressions of an ideal, advertising, fodder for bedroom-wall posters.”

In the case of the GTA Spano, only 99 of them will be built. You will never see that vehicle in your dealership.

Or any of the other hypercars, such as the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Lamborghini Veneno, Bugatti Veyron, Lykan Hypersport, Pagani Huayra or Koenigsegg Agera. Want to see one in person? Attend the annual Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland next March.

But you will see the original equipment tires on the GTA Spano: the Pirelli P Zero. The hypercar has staggered fitments from front (255/35ZR19) to rear (335/30ZR20). The wheel sizes are 19x9.5 and 20x12, respectively.

Pirelli and Cie SpA is one of only two tire manufacturers that make both those sizes. If the owner wanted to replace the Pirelli’s with another max performance brand, the only other tire choice would be the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

The 335/30ZR20 is a rare size. However, the 255/35ZR19 is not. You may see a Mercedes-Benz CLS550 or Audi A5 Coupe at your dealership, and if you do, you have a lot of options.

The Tire Rack lists 78 tire alternatives based on price or load-carrying capacity and 13 different brands. In addition to Pirelli and Michelin, there are Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Sumitomo, Toyo, Yokohama, BFGoodrich and General tires in that size.

A little more Web research uncovers Ohtsu, Nexen, Falken, Nitto and Cooper tires in size 255/35ZR19. Even size-appropriate low-cost radials from China are available.

If you want to plus-size, the vehicle only needs to come with size 215/60R16 (Plus-1) or 225/50R17 (Plus-2) tires in order to reach 255/35ZR19.

The point? There are two. First, staggered sizing aside, you have a lot of replacement performance tire (and wheel) options open to you, almost no matter what kind of vehicle drives into your shop.

And second, even max performance tires can turn up on the strangest of vehicles, so be prepared.

One day they are OE on a hypercar or a luxury coupe. The next they become a standard fitment on a mid-size sedan. If you don’t think that’s realistic, who would have ever thought a size 225/45R18 V-rated tire would be OE on a Toyota Camry? — Bob Ulrich

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at bob.ulrich@bobit.com.

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