Northamptonshire, UK @jcx911
Model 997.2 turbo
Acquired December 2015
About 230 to 295cm² is all that connects each corner of our cars to the road, so it’s critical that these pocket-diary-sized contact patches perform.
Since new my car has ridden on Bridgestone RE050A Potenza tyres, and they’ve done the job. They’ve never let me down in the dry or the wet, and they’ve endured a couple of track days – although they did look a bit worse for wear after the LTL Track Limits day (issue 153), but I just don’t love them. The Bridgestone RE050A tyres are hard, noisy and they just don’t communicate limpet-like grip like some tyres do, and that’s not good enough for a 911 Turbo.
To be fair, they are N-rated, which means that they have been tested by Porsche for use in my size, so they are a safe bet if I want to maintain my used-car warranty.
However, I want tyres that make my car better, grippier; tyres that give me confidence to access all of its prodigious power. And I want less road noise so that I can hear my engine above all else, making my Turbo a true grand tourer. Too much? Not so! I have options from Michelin.
Michelin offer two N-rated tyres in my sizes: the time-tested Pilot Sport 2 and the road-legal track monster Pilot Sport Cup 2 – standard fit on the GT3. Both will outperform the Bridgestone in some categories. Cup 2s provide unmatched dry grip alongside a very compliant and quiet ride, but their wet and cold weather performance really means it’s not the ideal tyre for yearround use. Meanwhile, the Sport 2s provide acceptable levels of comfort alongside strong ability in wet and dry conditions. They are an aging tyre now though, and I fear not being able to get a match should I need to replace a tyre or two – which could mean I need to buy four new tyres to deal with a puncture in just one.
So that leaves the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres… the darlings of tyre-review shootouts across various competitions. These tyres appear to blend the best of the best into a single tyre. They provide (almost) Cup 2-like grip in the dry, but savage the Cup 2s in the wet. They are supple enough and quiet enough to play second fiddle to the sonorous howl of my Sharkwerks exhaust, and they offer an eye-watering lifespan with superb wear rates. What’s not to like? Well, they are not N-rated in my sizes, but does that really matter? It might if I want to renew my extended warranty with Porsche. Park that thought – there are still options.
Michelin PS 4S tyres are N-rated for 20-inch wheels, so it’s not like Porsche hasn’t spent any time with Michelin making sure that their tyres are up to spec, and they are homologated by AMG and Ferrari for factory fit to certain models, so again these tyres have clearly been tested to satisfactory levels.
Decision made then. I selected Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tyres and had them fitted at my local tyre specialist. I’ll share my findings as the year unfolds, but early signs are great after a few hundred miles of rain, snow and cold dry roads. Oh, what will they be like on sticky summer tarmac?