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HOW BRIDGESTONE DEVELOPED ITS NEW HIGH-PERFORMANCE TYRE, POTENZA SPORT

14 Apr 2021

"How can we create the ideal high-performance tyre?" That's the question Bridgestone engineers asked themselves as they set out to create the next-generation Potenza. In the late 1970s, Potenza was a breakthrough tyre for its time and helped define the high-performance segment. Learn how Bridgestone engineers tapped into this historical legacy to envision and develop the new Potenza Sport.

 

 

Defining the ideal high-performance tyre

 

Engineers started with a simple idea: Develop a high-performance tyre that both car manufacturers and sports enthusiasts want.
 
For car manufacturers, the requirements for a high-performance tyre vary on a case-by-case basis. But generally, most manufacturers expect this type of tyre to maximise certain features of a supercar or high-performance vehicle in dry conditions.
 
But understanding what a sports enthusiast looks for in a high-performance tyre required a bit more research. The Bridgestone product team interviewed and surveyed almost 4,000 people who identify themselves as drivers who enjoy unlocking their vehicle's potential and a controlled sporty driving experience.

Based on the results, Bridgestone discovered these drivers expect:

1) A maximised driving experience (safely and responsibly)
  
2) Increased control and confidence behind the wheel
  
3) A tyre that delivers on these performance factors:

 

  • Increased stability at speed
  • Secure grip in wet and dry conditions
  • Shorter braking distances

 

With this insight, the Bridgestone engineers had a roadmap to start building the Potenza Sport.

 

Developing Potenza Sport

 

Designing a new tyre is similar to creating a work of art. It takes patience, dedication and a little experimentation to get the final result just right. To build Potenza Sport, Bridgestone engineers focused their efforts on four main features:

  • Tread pattern
  • Contour
  • Compounds
  • Construction

 

Tread pattern

 

The tread pattern is the feature that most consumers inspect to understand a tyre's performance capabilities. For Potenza Sport, engineers opted for an asymmetrical pattern design to increase stiffness and stability at speed. The variable rib profile maximises wet friction and the 3D sipes enhances braking potential and abrasion resistance.

potenza sport

Contour

Contour is the shape of a tyre, and it influences how the tyre makes contact with the road. Engineers wanted this Potenza Sport to deliver the best handling while driving on a straight road and cornering at speed. Creating the tyre with an extra-wide profile — or sporty shape — increases the tyre’s stability and braking potential, while the optimised contact patch improves steering feel and control.

contour

Compounds

What makes up a tyre is as important as its external features. The innovative compound formula enables Potenza Sport to balance and enhance its performance in wet and dry conditions. In addition, the increased compound stiffness enhances stability and handling while cornering. 

compounds

Construction

Construction influences tyre performance across the board. At the heart of the Potenza Sport is a sporty carcass that maximises steering response, stability and rolling resistance. Reinforced steel enhances the tyre’s reactiveness and braking power. The tyre crown is hybrid, which means it mixes polyester and rubber to maximise stability at speed.

carcass

Testing with virtual and predictive tools

As a global leader in advanced solutions and sustainable mobility, Bridgestone is always looking to optimise its processes with the latest technologies, including tyre development.
 
Predictive tools and virtual simulations allow Bridgestone engineers to make incremental changes to a tyre and simulate how these adaptations support braking, cornering and driving at speed before testing a physical prototype in real conditions.
 
These tools also enable Bridgestone to cut the time and resources spent on the development process, further supporting its goal for more efficient and sustainable operations.

virtual

Bringing Potenza Sport to the test track

After engineers give the green light, the Potenza Sport prototype then moves on for testing. The tyre arrives at Bridgestone’s Technical Center (TCE) where its put to the test with indoor exercises and an outdoor test track.
 
In addition to internal tests, Potenza Sport is also independently tested by TÜV SÜD. TÜV SÜD conducts rigorous tests that measure Potenza Sport's performance capabilities in comparison to competitor tyres in its segment.

Watch the TÜV SÜD tests in action

According to the TÜV SÜD results, Bridgestone outperformed other major competitor high-performance tyres in cornering and straight line stability, dry braking and wet cornering and handling.

sport

Bespoke Potenza Sport for prestige vehicles

 

As Bridgestone prepared to make a go-to-market tyre, it also collaborated with car manufacturers to develop custom Potenza Sport tyres for special prestige vehicles.

Bridgestone developed bespoke Potenza Sport tyres for Maserati’s newest supercar, MC20. Both Bridgestone and Maserati share a legacy in motorsports, and creating a custom-made Potenza Sport for the MC20 was the next step in this storied partnership. The R&D teams on both sides used groundbreaking virtual technology to develop and test the tyres in 24 months.

Lamborghini also selected Bridgestone's Potenza Sport for its Lamborghini Huracán STO, a new super sports car. Bridgestone engineered a high-performance tyre capable of maximising the Huracán STO’s traction, handling, control, and extreme overall performance.

Master your journey, awaken your senses

 

The Bridgestone Potenza Sport is now available for passenger cars and on-road SUVs. Find your Potenza today.