- The base tire on the 2020 Corvette Stingray is a newly developed Michelin all-season tire, the Pilot Sport All Season 4 (the previous Corvette only offered summer performance tires).
- While it might seem counterintuitive to specify all-season tires on a mid-engine sports car, the goal for these tires is 1.00 g of lateral grip, which is higher than what the C6 Corvette could manage on summer tires.
- Michelin expects Corvettes with Pilot Sport 4S summer tires to pull between 1.03 and 1.05 g.
Chevy's decision to deliberately reduce the dynamic capabilities of the new, mid-engine Corvette by making all-season, non-performance tires standard seems more than a bit counterintuitive. After all, the primary reason for moving the Corvette's engine behind the passenger compartment is to improve performance. But, as Corvette executive chief engineer Tadge Juechter explains, "More customers than ever are saying that they’d really like to drive three seasons on the same tires." So, standard on the base FE1 suspension setup Stingray is Michelin’s new Pilot Sport All Season 4, a run-flat tire that Michelin and Chevy developed specifically for this car.
Tires have improved to the point that today's all-season tires can provide dry grip that's better than what summer tires could do not that long ago. Indeed, the primary goal of this new all-season tire was to achieve 1.00 g lateral acceleration—that's more than what the C6 Corvette's summer tires could achieve—while still permitting realistic three-season driving.
Five years of development have produced a tire with an all-new structure, compounds, and tread pattern, although, as the accompanying photo shows, that tread is certainly inspired by Michelin's Pilot Sport 4S summer tire. Though Michelin says the tire has yet to reach 1.00 g, it’s closer than any other all-season tire we know of. According to Michelin, the tire currently generates a minimum 0.95 g depending on the surface, but Chevy hasn’t finalized the Stingray’s chassis calibration, so more grip might still be found before production.
"This tire doesn’t make the compromises that a summer tire will make when the temperature drops below 40 or 50 degrees, especially if it’s wet," says Lee Willard, Michelin’s lead development engineer for the Pilot Sport All Season 4. "It really behaves like a summer tire in balance and progressiveness at the limit, yet it offers two to three times the grip of a Michelin summer tire in the snow."
For perspective, today's best-performing all-season tires top out just over 0.90 g, such as the 0.93 g we measured on our long-term Nissan Altima wearing Hankook Kinergy GT tires. Michelin expects that Corvette Stingrays fitted with the available Pilot Sport 4S summer tire to produce between 1.03 g and 1.05 g.
Based on the fact that in a recent winter-tire test, a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport wearing Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 performance winter tires shocked us by hanging on for 0.96 g on a dry skidpad, 1.00 g on all-seasons certainly seems plausible to us.
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