Tires may be the most overlooked performance component on (most) modern automobiles. The tires delivered on mainstream cars are generally optimized for wear, fuel efficiency and ride comfort, not for grip or performance in extreme conditions.

Enter the world of hypercars, however, and the design parameters behind a set of rubber is distinctly different. Factors like tire wear and road noise are secondary considerations to things like lateral grip (for maximum cornering), longitudinal grip (for better acceleration and braking) and sidewall stiffness (for optimal turn-in).

In fact, engineering tires for hypercars is even more challenging that designing race tires, since race tires are meant to deliver maximum grip on dry pavement over a (very) finite life and at a specific operating temperature.

In wet conditions, entirely different (and even more narrowly-focused) race tires are mounted, optimized for grip in damp conditions or for channeling extreme amounts of water in wet conditions. Mounting up a separate set of tires for varying conditions is a luxury that most sports car and supercar owners don’t have.

The challenge for a company like Pirelli, then, is designing an ultra-high-performance street tire that delivers grip across a broad range of temperatures, while channeling sufficient water in the wet and delivering a reasonable lifespan based on normal driving habits.

For cars like the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari, an off-the-shelf tire simply won’t do, which is why Pirelli has created bespoke P Zero Corsa tires for the latest generation of hypercars.

The tires for the LaFerrari (265/30-19 fronts, 345/30-20 rears) are unique to the car and designed in conjunction with Ferrari’s engineers. The front tires’ width is specifically designed to aid turn-in and reduce understeer in corners, ultimately producing lower lap times.

Even the inner and outer shoulders of the ultra-low profile tires differ in construction and stiffness to optimize grip across a broader range of conditions. Pirelli says the P Zero Corsa’s compounds rely on the latest-generation polymers, and that the tire compounds were optimized specifically for the LaFerrari.

We have no doubt that Pirelli’s latest tires will deliver the expected performance from the LaFerrari on both road and track, but as with any ultra-performance item, we’re sure mounting up a new set of the uber-exclusive tires won’t be inexpensive.

For our complete coverage on the Ferrari LaFerrari, click here.


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