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Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ushers in 'Year of Performance'

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The first of four new Michelin performance tires goes on sale today at authorized Michelin dealerships in the United States and Canada.

The launch of the Pilot Sport PS2, previewed at the 2003 International Tire Expo in Las Vegas, officially signals the start of what Michelin North America Inc. calls its "Year of Performance."

"We have borrowed some of the methods, features and techniques used in the research and development of competition tires," said Pascal Couasnon, vice president of marketing for Michelin Americas Small Tires, at the tire's official launch in Barcelona, Spain.

Reminiscent of the looks of a Formula One tire, the Pilot Sport PS2 features a four-groove tread pattern. Its tread footprint is designed to create a larger and more stable contact patch compared to the previous generation Michelin Pilot Sport tire.

The tire also has the following attributes, according to the company:

* the unique "Variable Contact Patch" system, which places more rubber in contact with the road during extreme cornering.

* an asymmetric tread design and dual tread compounding, which "optimizes wet and dry performance."

* soft, sticky compounding influenced by what Michelin has learned in its endurance racing activities. The compounding "maximizes dry grip without compromising tread life."

The new ultra-high performance tire, which will be introduced in Mexico on April 5, is initially available in 33 sizes. That will grow to 59 by the end of the year.

The tire is being produced in Clermont Ferrand, France, where all Michelin race tires

are designed and produced. It is original equipment on the Porsche Carrera GT, 996 GT2 and GT3; Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR; BMW Alpina Z8; Bugatti Veyron; Chrysler Crossfire; and Audi RS6 and TT.

Michelin will introduce two more products in June, the Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2 and the Pilot XGT Z4. The last of the four Pilot tires, the Alpin PA2 snow tire, will be introduced in August.

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