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A Close Look At The Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s Michelin Tires

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It doesn’t matter how much power you have under the hood, if you can’t get it to the ground sufficiently you won’t be going anywhere fast.

Tires are one of the most overlooked features of a car, although they are arguably the single most important aspect in relation to performance, fuel economy, and--most importantly--safety of any car.

Not surprisingly, automakers today work closely with tire manufacturers to ensure that optimal performance is guaranteed for their latest and greatest performance cars.

Ferrari is one automaker that has close links with several tire manufacturers, one of which is Michelin, which has developed a unique set of tires for the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, the fastest and most powerful road-going model to hail from the halls of Maranello.

Ferrari, after its previous successful collaborations related to the development of the tires for the 599 GTO and the FF, has once more chosen Michelin among the original equipment suppliers for its new F12 Berlinetta.

After all, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, which the F12 Berlinetta uses, is the world’s fastest production tire around a track, according to TÜV SÜD Automotive. The tire recorded the fastest lap time against its five leading competitors in a dry-circuit test conducted in 2010 by the independent German organization.

Some of the technologies the tires feature include Michelin’s Twaron Belt, a high-density fiber which gives the tire superior high-speed stability. A key feature of the Twaron Belt is that it is very strong, yet light--five times stronger, in fact, than steel of an equivalent weight.

There’s also Michelin’s latest Variable Contact Patch technology. Although the patch’s shape changes when cornering, the amount of rubber in contact with the road for each of the tires remains the same.

Finally, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires incorporate Tri-Compound and Bi-compound treads. Derived from the technologies developed and used in endurance racing, this innovation uses different rubber compounds on the left and right sides of the tread. On the outside, a unique material specifically developed for racing tires ensures exceptional endurance. On the inside, a latest-generation, high-grip material enables the tire (on wet surfaces) to break through the water’s surface and adhere to the road.

The sizes of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport developed for the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta are: 255/35 ZR 20 front and 315/35 ZR 20 rear, the latter of which has to handle the thrust from a 6.3-liter V-12 rated at 729 horsepower and 508 pound-feet of torque. And in case you want proof of its performance, the F12 Berlinetta will complete a lap of Ferrari’s Fiorano race track in just 1:23, a whole second faster than the already insane Ferrari 599 GTO and roughly two seconds faster than the 458 Italia and Enzo.
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