Test Driving Corvettes with Michelin's New Pilot Sport Cup Tires

Don Sherman

Behind the scenes, Michelin has continued developing additional replacement tires for Corvette owners. The first A/S Plus tires with ZP capability were launched this year for C6 applications. And in the teeth of a July heat wave I ventured to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch near Pahrump, Nevada, to try out the latest Pilot Sport PS2 ZP radials just introduced for Corvette Z06s.

The Pilot Sport PS2 is the best performance tire Michelin offers short of the street-legal/track-tuned Pilot Sport Cup rubber. With scores of OE and replacement fitments already existing, PS2s are a favorite of manufacturers and owners alike. The list of other brands served includes Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche. This year Michelin is adding 43 new SKUS (stock keeping units) to further extend PS2 joy.

Rather than employing a few-sizes-fit-many strategy, Michelin engineers tune and homologate each particular SKU for its specific car application. That's why there are 130 SKUs and 82 different sizes to accommodate 80 some car models. In addition, tuners such as Callaway, Hennessey, Pratt and Miller, and Specter Werkes turn to Michelin for assistance homologating PS2s for their higher-stress applications.

The 193-acre Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch (SMMR), where I had the opportunity to evaluate PS2s in trying circumstances on regular C6, Z06, and ZR-1 Corvettes, is where only the most deserving car enthusiasts go after a life well spent. (Others can buy their way in; Memberships start at $15,000.) In addition to two major road courses - 1.5-miles, ten turns and 3.5-miles, 20 turns - SMMR also offers:

  • The Ron Fellows Performance Driving School
  • Lotus, Mini Cooper, and Radical driving schools
  • Membership in Club Spring Mountain
  • 8000-sq ft clubhouse
  • Swimming pool
  • Indoor firing range
  • Massage service
  • Garage rental
  • Go-kart driving school
  • Flight training
  • Racquetball court
  • Driving simulators
  • Meeting and training facilities
  • A Spring Mountain race series
  • Switchcars.com exotic automobile dealership
  • RV parking pads
  • Dyno Jet power assessment shop
  • PowerTec engine building shop

Condominium sales are already underway at SMMR with occupancy scheduled for later this year. Construction of an onsite Microtel hotel is also planned. The usual Nevada sin activities--gambling, bar hopping, and bordellos--are available a short distance off the SMRR property. One other attraction worth noting is a number of straight, level, lightly traveled, and rarely patrolled roads near Pahrump where 200+mph is possible on a good day with the right car. I speak from experience.

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