After being exiled by the spec tire movement that has taken over literally every World Championship racing series—in both two and four-wheeled disciplines—due to its belief that “only races that are open to more than one tire maker can serve as a powerful innovation driver”, Michelin has certainly had a lot of time and money to spend for production tire development. Ample proof of that is the latest sticky DOT racing tire offering from the company, designated the “Power Cup”. Based closely upon the previous Power One tire, the Power Cup has been under development for two years in the Spanish, Italian, French, and German national championships, as well as using technology and lessons gleaned from its World Endurance Championship teams.
Outwardly the Power Cup looks identical to its predecessor, with a void ratio (tread siping/tire profile) of just five percent making its footprint pretty darn close to a racing slick. In fact, Michelin used much of the same technology from its racing slicks in the design of the Power Cup’s shoulders and crown profile to enhance the tire’s contact patch when cornering. The big changes are internal; the front tire’s construction uses wider angles in the belts to enhance rigidity and overall tire stability while braking and cornering. The rear features a lighter overall casing for better response and wear.
The same Two Compound Technology is used with the Power Cup, with the outer 37.5 percent of each side on the front tire and outer 35 percent on each side of the rear tire utilizing a softer compound than the center tread for better grip while cornering. However, now there are eight new compounds to choose from (three for the front, five for the rear) to better suit track conditions. As with the Power One, there is also a higher-performance (read: quicker steering) version of the front tire available in two compound constructions.
For those racing in the superbike classes, Michelin has also updated its Power Slick and Power Rain tires as well with the same technology. Check with your dealer or nearest Michelin race tire distributor.