We're talking supercars, helicopters and jet planes.
It’s been almost 30 years since the P Zero was approved for road use, the inimitable Ferrari F40 being the first to wear the Italian rubber. 1,000 homologations and three decades of providing grip to the fastest and most sophisticated cars on the planet later, and P Zero has become a brand in itself. So much so, that when the latest P Zero was unveiled earlier this month, we along with the world’s press were flown out to Las Vegas courtesy of Pirelli for a crazy 24 hours of helicopter rides, jet planes and piloting a slew of supercars.
Before all the fun stuff, a presentation that included catwalk models and a Pagani Huayra BC strutting their stuff revealed what’s new about the latest P Zero. Three variants of the tire have been designed. For sports cars, the P Zero is tailored with a less sculpted tread pattern for dynamic performance; luxury sedans receive a pattern featuring a deeply grooved external shoulder to absorb surface impact; and the new P Zero Corsa mirrors motorsport slicks with an aggressive tread design.
Maximum stability at high speeds is the hallmark of the new P Zero. Formula One derived F1 Bead technology provides a more rapid, precise steering response, making the tire behavior more predictable; Extended Range Profile gives the tire a flatter footprint and a more even wear, thus extending its life; while more tread pattern grooves and deeper, wider channels on the surface has increased water expulsion capacity by ten percent, thus making for more stable braking in the wet. The P Zero also boasts new technologies made up of three “apps.” PNCS (Pirelli Noise Canceling System) is essentially a silencer for the tires that effectively halves the overall noise level.
A polyurethane sponge layer sits inside the tire carcass, reducing the noise caused by vibrations that transmit from the tire cavity to the wheel hub to the steering, suspension and into the passenger compartment. Pirelli says driving comfort is improved without affecting other tire characteristics. To ensure drivers no longer have to stop when experiencing a puncture, the new P Zero boasts two new technologies designed to work on all vehicle types without the need for specially-adapted wheel rims. Run Flat is a new system that allows the tire to be used while running flat for 50 miles at speeds of up to 50 mph in complete safety.
It uses innovative new compounds together with “self-supporting” tire walls that can bear the car’s weight when the tire is flat. The Run Flat system also helps the tire maintain the correct stability and car’s trajectory after a high-speed puncture. Seal Inside is also aimed at minimizing the impact of punctures of up to 4 mm. When the tire is penetrated, a rubber sealant inside the tire forms a protective sheath around the external body, preventing air from escaping. The rubber sealant then blocks the exit hole upon removing the object, while a unique film also covers the sealant for added protection.
Tailored to suit individual cars, the new P Zero will have more than 100 homologations by the end of the year, including the the Lamborghini Centenario, Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, Mercedes GT AMG and the Porsche Boxster. Arriving by helicopter, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the venue to try out the new P Zeros, with the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, Mercedes AMG GT and Pagani Huayra among our weapons of choice on various track set-ups. The grip of the new P Zero in every condition was phenomenal and like nothing we’ve experienced before. The perspective of the Nevada desert courtesy of an Italian SIAI-Marchetti S.211 plane echoed that sentiment.