Goodyear has launched a set of new performance tyres that it says will take on the very best from Michelin and Pirelli.
Goodyear's new Supersport range will consist of three separate tyres: the Supersport, the SuperSport R and SuperSport RS. We flew to one of Spain’s most famous race tracks to test the range.
There is a good reason why the American tyre manufacturer is keen to get into this high-end category of tyres – they tend to be pricey and lucrative as a result. Besides, Michelin and Pirelli have both carved out a great deal of marketing success from creating these halo tyres.
Looking at the range, it’s best to see how the tyres fit. In that regard, the ‘base’ Supersport is equivalent to a Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, the Supersport R is meant to take on the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 and the Supersport RS is to take on the Cup2 R and the Pirelli Trofeo R.
We started our test on the standard tyres fitted to Ferrari 488s. An interesting choice of tyre for a car that is inherently loose on the rear end.
In saying that, we found the progressive grip from the Goodyears to be very reasonable and, whilst it would be impossible to say if they are on-par or better than the Michelin equivalent without a back-to-back test, we can wholeheartedly say they felt grippy and would provide a good alternative for those seeking a road tyre that can definitely take some punishment.
Much like the Sport 4S, these are not track tyres and are best left for performance road cars that may occasionally be driven with a good level of vigour.
We also tried the same tyres on the Alpine A110 around a relatively damp section of the track. Here their wet-weather grip was put to the test and, whilst the grip was definitely there, we were pushing hard enough to make the French car come unstuck with relative ease.
There is a lot of technology that Goodyear says has gone into the production of these tyres, but if you’re not a tyre buff or don’t live and breathe the chemical composition of rubber compounds and their industrial scale manufacturing processes, then it’s all a little bit too technical.
It’s worth noting that an incredible amount of research and development has gone into the supersport range, and Goodyear claims the Supersport is faster around its testing track (by about 500ms) than the Michelins.
But don’t take Goodyear’s word for it, because Porsche has switched its tyre supply from Michelin to Goodyear for the new 911 and that is probably reason enough to know the claims are not without considerable merit. Speaking of Porsches, we moved on from the Supersport and into the Supersport R.
Confusingly, the R of Goodyear is not the equivalent of the R of Michelin or Pirelli, which is a step higher. The Goodyear R is an ideal tyre for those that don’t necessarily value wet-weather grip in its entirety, but do appreciate it for when the time calls.
We found the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport R to be a very, very grippy tyre in a GT3 RS. In each lap that went past, we kept pushing harder and harder and we were told that the tyres will last a good 150 laps of full abuse, of which we must have contributed about 20 in our test.
These tyres differ quite a lot to the Michelin Cup 2s.
They are perhaps not as sticky and the sidewall feels a little less soft when you really push it, but the difference we felt was that when the Michelins let go, they tend to let get pretty hard and fast (especially in a rear-engined Porsche).
But with the Goodyears, there was a significant level of progressive grip loss, so you can push with a little bit more confidence knowing that a snap oversteer isn’t right there.
The other interesting aspect of the Goodyears was that their 'sweet spot' operating temperature (about 90-100) seemed to last a bit longer. It’s hard to really say if that was due to just the track being the right temperature itself or if the composition of the tyres truly let them last a bit longer at full blast.
That brings us up to speed with the Supersport and Supersport R, which curiously left the RS tyre sitting on a car that Goodyear didn’t allow us to drive. It’s fun to speculate why we weren’t allowed to test what is the brand’s ultimate road-legal but track-focused tyre, but it has been picked by Porsche to be the tyre of choice for the stupendously fast GT2 RS.
Pricing for the tyres is yet to be officially confirmed and tyre choices for the R and RS will remain relatively limited for the near future, until additional sizes become available.
CarAdvice recently conducted a comparison between the Pirelli Trofeo R and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, which will be published in the near future. We will then put the winner of that test against the Goodyear Supersport R and eventually RS.
Visit our gallery for more images of the Goodyear Supersport tyres in action.