What are Michelin Cup2 ‘R’ tyres?
The Michelin Cup2 ‘R’ tyre was launched to provide the ultimate tyre for setting the quickest lap time possible.
Michelin managed to further improve the grip and durability that the Cup2 tyre provided by integrating their exclusive motorsport rubber compound into a road tyre. Whilst that sentence may sound like marketing waffle, it really is true. Michelin is exceptionally guarded on the ingredients and make-up of the compound that goes into the ‘R’ tyre. To the extent that they even limit who is able to access the factory where they are made. The motorsport compound heats up relatively swiftly and once up to temperature provides near-slick levels of grip. Michelin claim, compared to the Cup2, that it can save up to 0.5s per 1km giving an equivalent uplift of 150bhp in the Porsche performance, which is quite a bold claim. However, even on a quick back-to-back drive of Cup2 to Cup2 ‘R’ tyre, the difference can instantly be felt. Entry, mid-corner and exit grip are all significantly enhanced to the extent that you occasionally glance at the speedo and find you’re going 5-10mph quicker everywhere! The fact that you could unleash pretty much full throttle in every gear from 1st in a 700bhp 991.2 GT2RS says it all really. Ten years ago this kind of power could only be tamed with a full race slick.
The other aspect that allows the tyre to work so efficiently at providing ultimate grip is the contact patch on the tarmac. In the image below, you can see the tyre is basically split into two sections, the inner section with extra grooves allowing for water expulsion with the outer section being almost slick. This outer section that provides the extra grip is 10% thicker than on the Cup2 tyre. Very simply more rubber on the floor = more grip. The tyre carcass has also seen enhancements. The extra grip that the compound and contact patch provide on their own would deform the tyre. So, Michelin has integrated ‘Dynamic Response Technology’ which stiffens up the tyre wall to withstand the great force being exerted upon it.
What are they like to live with?
First of all, yes, you can use them on the road and they are legal. The tyres work best in temperatures above 10c really and in dry conditions. However, we live on an island which enjoys plenty of cold and wet weather. We can confirm the tyres still work in suboptimal conditions, however, caution is best observed. Damp or wet roads are okay, but any standing water will be harder for the tyre to deal with. You typically feel a bit of a ‘shimmy’ through the chassis as the car struggles for grip. The Michelin Cup2 ‘R’ tyre will also wear a little faster than you expect, so certainly not the best tyre for a road trip/touring but this is clearly not its design purpose! On track, the tyres are exceptional as detailed above. We suggest being very diligent with checking and running the correct pressures to manage the heat cycles better.
In terms of the cost of the tyre, they are around 10-15% costlier than a Cup2 tyre, but once you have tried them you can see it’s worth the investment. You could also argue some ‘man-maths’ that the extra grip they provide in the dry means that you are actually driving a safer car…
Anyhow, watch a few laps of Kevin Estre or Lars Kern setting lap records around the Nürburgring with them strapped to various RS models with Cup2R tyres and we defy you to not be tempted to try them out.
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