Bridgestone Adds 2 Potenza Tires to UHP Mix
New mixing technology helped Bridgestone Americas Inc. update its tread compound with more silica, resulting in two new ultra-high performance tires, the Potenza Sport and the Potenza RE980AS+.
Bridgestone sees the Potenza Sport as its next flagship summer tire. Developed in Europe, the tire is designed to perform in both wet and dry conditions. Internal tests show a 6% improvement in dry braking compared to the Potenza S-04 Pole Position tire.
The Potenza Sport comes in 65 sizes, covering 81% of the sports cars and sedans on the road.
The Potenza RE980AS+ replaces the RE980AS, and the new generation of the tire adds winter capabilities.
Dale Harrigle, Bridgestone’s chief engineer for performance and luxury tires in the replacement channel, says, “We know that the Potenza RE980AS was a favorite of the enthusiasts, but one thing we like to do at Bridgestone is pay attention to our customer feedback. Customers told us they wanted a bit more winter performance out of this tire.”
The Potenza RE980AS+ comes in 53 sizes, covering 85% of the sports cars and sedans on the road in the U.S. and Canada.
Bridgestone refers to the tire’s rubber as an “ultra-high silica compound,” and says it provides grip and handling in both wet and dry conditions. Justin Gehres, director of advanced product engineering, says the new compound results in improved wet performance, as well as improved tire wear.
The design and geometry of the tread pattern helps the tire maintain contact pressure while circumferential grooves evacuate water for improved wet performance.
Three-dimensional sipe technology maximizes pattern stiffness to balance traction and wear performance, and a new hybrid crown reinforcement maximizes stability at high speeds. For driving comfort, the tuned tread sequencing minimizes the hum from the tire, offering a quiet ride.
The tire already has been customized for original equipment fitments on the Maserati MC20 and Lamborghini Huracán STO.
The improvements to the Potenza RE980AS+ allow for year-round UHP tire performance. The new tread compound enhances snow handling and improves wear, which Bridgestone says makes the tire “a more sustainable ride.” The asymmetric design and 3D sipes help the tire dig into snow for improved traction.
It’s backed by a 50,000 mile limited mileage warranty.
Mirella Cielo, president of Bridgestone’s consumer replacement tire business, says, “In reimagining our Potenza lineup, we set out to create two new ultimate performance contenders that would help enthusiast drivers get the most out of their car in a wide variety of weather and road conditions.”
Why pursue UHP?
Tiremakers long have brought racing tire technology into their consumer products. Three Bridgestone offered their takes on why the company is pursuing the UHP tire market.
Merritt Gilbert is director of consumer marketing operations for Bridgestone. She says, “It boils down to enhancing a segment known for its passion. The ultra-high performance category is all about connection with a brand, a product, with a way you feel when you’re on the road.”
Harrigle, an engineer who spent nearly 20 years working on Bridgestone’s race products, says it’s fun. “We have a lot of engineers including myself that are passionate about this category. I love working on these tires. The innovative technology we developed over there for tires that go over 200 mph is used to develop these tires, too. It’s exciting to find ways to utilize this technology to design and test performance tires our customers can purchase.
Jeff Cook, the executive director of strategy and production portfolio planning, says it pairs Bridgestone’s history with motorsports with its work with “premium OE partners.” And in the end, the goal is to “make the name Bridgestone synonymous with high performance.”