Despite wearing a black swimsuit complete with tyre tread across her body, Naomi Campbell was not so much road-kill as she was dressed to kill when recently launching the latest line of Pirelli's Ultra-High Performance tyres the Planet Zero (P Zero) in Rome.
The new and complete range of tyres address the increasing amount of high performance vehicles being sold in today's market. Many car manufacturers today offer vehicles that deliver more than 200 HP and it is estimated that the segment represents almost 25 percent of all cars sold.
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The P Zero Corsa, a road-legal racing tyre, became the latest development in Pirelli's Ultra High Performance range in 2003 and led the way to the newest P Zero Corsa System.
Used as original equipment for the road version of the Ferrari 360 Challenge and Porsche GT3, and targeted at the most prestigious car producers, P Zero Corsa System includes P Zero Corsa Direzionale on the front for water clearance and P Zero Corsa Asimmetrico on the rear to ensure maximum grip.
Pirelli says that because of its solid centre rib and the "Z" tread design, the tyre generates little noise and offers precise steering response at high speed and excellent grip while delivering immediate response when cornering. Its four longitudinal grooves delay aquaplaning and enhance performance at high speed.
The Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico boasts an extensive range that spans up to 22-inches in diameter, with aspect ratios ranging from 50 to 30 as well as high load indices and W-rating for top speeds of up to 270 km/h.
The first P Zero tyre appeared in 1987 and was created for the legendary Ferrari F40. P Zero System followed in 1994 and P Zero Rosso in 2000. Originally conceived for the Original Equipment market, P Zero Rosso is a versatile tyre that offers a balance between performance, comfort and safety in any condition.
In 2002 Pirelli launched P Zero Nero. It was essentially aimed at the tuner's replacement market and based on Pirelli's patented M.I.R.S (Modular Integrated Robotized System) technology that uses the latest principles of automated and flexible manufacturing.
M.I.R.S is an automated and flexible manufacturing concept to produce tyres through a continuous and integrated process with improved quality control. M.I.R.S robots carry out the full tyre production cycle at a speed without precedent in the industry without interruption and without the need to handle components thus reducing the production phases from 14 to 3.
With the arrival of the P Zero Corsa System and Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico to the P Zero range, Pirelli claims their tyres know no rival. However, a J.D Power and Associates Report conducted in the U.S would contest this claim. In a recent survey of 31,557 owners in the U.S. Pirelli rated very highly but was pipped by Michelin as the highest ranking producer in three out of four categories.
The study measured customer satisfaction with the tyres that came equipped on their new vehicles and ranked tyre manufacturers based on the experiences of first year vehicle owners in four segment: luxury/sport, mass-market/non-luxury, pickup/full-size van and SUV's. Satisfaction was calculated using a tyre satisfaction index that included five factors: tyre appearance, tyre handling, tyre ride, tyre traction and tyre wearability.
In the luxury/sport category, Pirelli was beaten by Dunlop and Michelin in ranking where tyre wearability was the most important factor.