In order to give their sport-tuned cars the best handling possible on the road or track, many car enthusiasts choose to equip their vehicles with UHP, or Ultra High Performance, tires. Like the supercharged engines and finely engineered suspension systems that are hallmarks of sports cars, UHP tires are designed to provide drivers with the ability to push their sports vehicles to the limits of performance and speed.
The warm, dry summer months are a terrific time to take your performance car on a spin on a local track. Before you rev up your engine, however, you may want to think about upgrading your stock tires with UHP tires that will provide you with enhanced grip, improved speed, and a generally improved ride. UHP tires are not designed to withstand extreme weather conditions or uneven terrain, so the summer months offer the perfect conditions to give a set of the latest performance tires for a spin.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport, Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, and Continental SportContact 6 rank among the top UHP tires available on the market this summer. Recently, Tyre Reviews broke down the relative test ratings of these tires to see which performance tire was truly the best.
When you’re blasting around the corner of a track, the dry handling of your tires will affect both the speed and traction of your turn. During a test drive at the Continental test facility in Uvalde, Texas, the Continental SportContact 6 tires took top ratings for their dry handling ratings. By comparison, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport tires were slightly more sluggish around turns.
Continental’s SportContact tires offer superior balance while steering, which is key in a racing environment. While all three tires offer excellent balance, the SportContact 6 tires eliminate nearly every trace of understeer. With nearly identical lap times, however, the dry handling of each tire is ultimately up to the subjective preferences of the driver.
ABS Dry Braking
Another essential characteristic of a performance tire is its ability to allow the vehicle to stop quickly and safely from high speeds. When tested on the track, the and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S and Continental SportContact 6 were neck and neck, with the Michelin tires ultimately taking top marks with an average stopping distance of approximately 115 feet.
When budget tires were tested against the top three performance tires from Continental, Michelin, and Goodyear, their ABS dry braking stopping distances did not match up to the capabilities of higher-end models. The Falken Azenis FK510, which is a more budget-friendly UHP tire model, came in with a fairly impressive dry braking distance of 118 feet.
Overall Noise and Comfort
When you’re traveling at top speeds, excessive noise and vibrations from your tires can detract from your driving experience and distract you during advanced driving maneuvers. The top-tier tires from Continental and Michelin offered superior noise dampening and overall driving comfort during laps around the track.
Surprisingly, Goodyear’s Eagle F1 SuperSport tires achieve a lower noise and comfort rating than four of their less expensive competitors, including the Kumho Ecsta PS91 and the Falken Azenis FK510. These significantly more budget-friendly tires were quieter and smoother than Goodyear’s premium model.
So, which UHP tire will be the right choice for your driving adventures this summer? If you’re looking for the best of the best, the elite Continental SportContact 6 is a fantastic choice for your sports car. Several budget models, including the Falken Azenis FK510, also offer fairly incredible performance ratings, making them a sound choice for those looking for superior performance, without breaking the bank.