Dunlop performance winter tire debuts at dealer conference

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. introduced the Dunlop SP WinterSport 3D winter performance tire at its dealer sales conference today In Nashville, Tenn.

The tire will be available in 22 sizes for the 2006-2007 winter season. It features “3D sipes,” knife-edge-thin grooves cut into the tread elements to enhance grip for performance and ultra-performance sports cars, according to Silvana Valencic, segment marketing manager for Dunlop in North America.

The directional SP WinterSport 3D features three types of sipes -– the cutting-edge Active Traction Sipe System -– each designed for changing weather conditions, as well as a new-generation, silica-rich winter tread compound, Valencic said.

At lower speeds, the 3D sipes in the shoulder area actually open, providing more biting edges for gripping traction in snow and icy conditions. At higher speeds or under higher loads, these same sipes lock together and close up for shoulder rigidity, creating a solid footprint for optimum handling on dry roads, Valencic said.

The central block –- with its pulling sipe design -– helps provide traction and braking on ice and snow, he added. In the intermediate blocks, high-amplitude sipes help deliver enhanced lateral stability and control in wet and slushy conditions, she said.

Ben Hyder, account engineer for Dunlop, said the SP WinterSport 3D also features Dunlop’s Multi Radius Tread technology, which appears in its SP Sport Maxx ultra-performance tire and in race tires used in the German Touring Car Championship race series.

MRT technology delivers even pressure across the tire’s footprint and a larger contact patch to help provide dry handling capabilities. Improved pressure distribution across the footprint also facilitates a smooth transition from straight driving through all stages of cornering, Hyder said.

JointLess Band technology, with up to three layers of spiral wound cap ply, helps maintain the tire’s ideal shape at highway speeds. The technology allows the fabric cap ply to be positioned for optimal footprint shape for improved handling and treadwear, Hyder said.

“Because the plies are spiral wound -– without splices -– the resulting tire uniformity and ride are great,” he said.

A new cool reactive silica mixing process helps give the tread compound greater flexibility at low temperatures. This allows the tread elements to bend and grip on icy and snow-covered roads. The result, Hyder said, is firm traction at all temperatures and speeds.

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