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|02.2006 Planet Zero
In May 2004 Pirelli presented a whole…..planet. Arrogant or not so? A company that has always broken traditions and long-lasting concepts seeking for new and provocative ways not only in innovative technological solutions but also in the form of presentation, such an initiative is far from arrogant…it’s just Pirellian. And now it is a fact …. Planet Zero emerged on the horizon including new and ever more complete range of Ultra-High Performance (UHP) tyres, designed and developed to exalt the qualities of increasingly demanding and high performing cars. But the meaning of Planet Zero goes beyond the technological values of the product.It has, in fact, become a concept:destined to write a new page for Pirelli and the whole UHP tyre world in the history of motoring.
The P Zero System was only unveiled a decade ago,in 1994:the first pairing of a tyre with a directional tread pattern and another of asymmetric design,respectively for the front and rear wheels of the same car. At that time,there were not many cars on the market capable of the kind of performance that could take advantage of such a tyre choice.But since then,the car world has changed radically.Today,just about every car manufacturer offers models able to exceed a maximum power output of over 200 hp,which at the end of the Eighties were almost an organic limit:beyond them,there existed only the super and luxury cars or roadsters of a special sporting appeal.In 1994,the high performance car segment was well under 10% of the total worldwide:today,that percentage is close to 25%.And it is significant that,10 years ago,the percentage of Pirelli tyres with a high-speed rating -240 km/h and over-was already close to 20%of the company ’s production,and today it is more than half its output across the world.
So Pirelli is pleased and proud to accompany –in some cases to even propose - this transformation of the world car market.For today,the car is considered less like a means of transport and more a true source of pleasure,for which performance,comfort and safety must progress on equal terms.
To respond in the best possible way to this complex and increasingly personal unification of requirements -Planet Zero.
PZero Corsa System:now the range is complete
The first PZero tyre appeared in 1987:created to equip the legendary Ferrari F40.In 1994, out came the P Zero System:a directional tread pattern for the front and an asymmetric for the rear,paired in that way to optimise the respective directionality and traction of the two axles.From that moment on,the decidedly more elevated car performance panorama began to broaden at gathering speed.And the PZero range was not caught unprepared.
From 2000,it was PZero Rosso:a tyre homologated as original equipment on many maximum prestige cars of both a sporting and luxury pedigree.Even today, PZero Rosso is the most versatile of products, able to ensure the utmost equilibrium between performance,driving comfort and safety in any conditions of use,and for increasingly sporty cars.To meet the ever greater extreme needs of cars of yet higher performance,as in the case of the tuners,along came the PZero Nero in 2002:mainly aimed at the replacement sector,a product tailored to specific needs.PZero Nero is a tyre built using that MIRS ™technology,which enables Pirelli to write a new page in the history of tyre production,now carried out entirely by robotised systems and the source,therefore,of total precision and optimisation of the product,as well as the reduction and greater versatility of production plants.
In 2003, PZero Corsa became the final development -up until now,that is-in the PZero car range.It is a road tyre oriented towards the needs of a car of extreme performance, with a particular inclination towards being driven on the track.This tyre ’s logical evolution is the PZero Corsa System:a new combination,further optimised between the directional tread pattern for the front and asymmetric for the rear. PZero Corsa System is also made with a number of production phases derived from the MIRS ™ production process, additional confirmation of the maximum technological level available in these products for the highest segment of the range.
The arrival of the PZero Corsa System further enriches Planet Zero. It is no exaggeration to say that,today,from top to extreme performance,the Pirelli car tyre range has no rivals, and constitutes a starting point,a galaxy apart,as much in Pirelli production as it does in the global panorama of tyres.
Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico:the 4x4 into the future
The first Scorpion Zero appeared in 1997:a tyre made expressly for high performance Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).With a segment of SUVs of increasingly ambitious off-road intentions at a world level,the Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico was launched in 2003, the first tyre of its kind built using MIRS ™ technology.
The 4x4 accelerated into the future with that tyre.If SUVs capable of elevated performance were then few and far between,today the panorama has expanded greatly,involving,in reality,almost all the car manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic.In Europe,there are an ever-increasing number of vehicles with an off-road vocation,but without completely renouncing maximum equipment and,in some cases, luxury.But,above all,taking the high performance road with a speed potential of well over 250 km/h.
Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico was designed and developed specifically to bolster the performance ambitions of SUVs on the road while,of course,completely maintaining their off-road efficiency.The new cover is assured of maximum uniformity,thanks to the MIRS ™ technology it adopts.Size availability is extensive and goes up to 24-inches in diameter.
On the road,the tyre also guarantees a net increase in performance,compared to its predecessor,the Scorpion Zero,in the areas of comfort,braking and handling in both the wet and dry.
All of this with a clear ‘liking ’for pure speed.As confirmed by the world record for pick-ups, which was established last winter by a Dodge STR10 fitted with 22 inch Scorpion Zero Asimmetrico tyres.Top technology and maximum safety for really special vehicles, which are sold today to an increasingly demanding clientele as far as tyres are concerned. During the 2005 SEMA Show Pirelli presented and the new 28” Scorpion Zero.
Planet Zero:the escalation of …inches
The constant evolution in the performance of cars that are more refined and of increasing dimensions has produced a real escalation in tyre sizes over the last 10 years. Not so much in the width of the tread,more in rim diameters.
In the mid-Nineties,original equipment for cars of the medium-high and high segments -for example up to a BMW 5 Series-included tyres of between 14 and 17 inches. In the case of replacement and the tuning evolution,those tyres could be of dimensional increments of up to two inches. Today, the situation has changed completely.Even cars of small dimensions are homologated as original equipment on tyres of close to 20 inches in diameter. A BMW 7 Series needs 22 inch at the time of changeover, in a market that often suggests the use of rims of from three to four inches bigger in diameter than the OE on every single model:that has led to the adoption of almost unimaginable sizes,compared to just a few years ago.
The tyre dimensions subject becomes even more important and characteristic in the SUV sector,in which the upsurge in performance has also been impressive over the last 10-15 years, as has the constant increase in technical and technological levels. This has brought demands that are more exacting in road handling for vehicles with four-wheel drive and performance of almost motor sport standard.
Planet Zero also offers this characteristic on the versatility and wealth-of-offer fronts: a truly extensive range of sizes (in inches), capable of satisfying all the possible demands and needs of both the car manufacturer and the end user, right up to the 25-inch Scorpion Zero for the Hummer H2. The P Zero and Scorpion Zero series contributes so much to enriching the overall panorama of Planet Zero that, with more than 240 different products available today, it undoubtedly constitutes a more substantial offer than those of its competitors.
…and of sales.For the world ’s finest cars
Planet Zero is born on the phenomenal sales volume success of Pirelli ’s PZero tyres.
Ten years ago,PZero homologations were granted mainly by five different car manufacturers:BMW for its M3,M5 and 850i;Ferrari for the 348,F355 and the 456GT; Lamborghini for the Diablo;Jaguar for the XJ and Ford exclusively for the Escort Cosworth. Today,the PZero world is exploding:the car makers involved now also include Audi, Mercedes, Bentley and Maserati; Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Lotus; Saab, Subaru and Volvo.
Apart from the variety that this wealth of homologations brings,ranging from straight sports cars to luxury sports models,from SUVs to station wagons,from tuned vehicles to top-level saloons,the PZero phenomenon has assumed numbers of great importance over the years as far as sales are concerned. Created as a niche phenomenon limited to cars of a certain typology,today the P Zero proposal is aimed at a whole range of cars,spanning widely diverse levels and forms of utilisation.
In sales terms,this Pirelli phenomenon runs an imposing course.Limited in 1994 to a few hundred thousand tyres sold around the world,now the PZero offer is aiming for a sale of five million units.All of which confirms a leadership today that can boast a presence on a global scale in the UHP segment.
Interest in tyres of dimensions beyond 17 inches is enormous:from the end of 2004,Planet Zero will offer the market 46 sizes equal to,or greater,than 20 inches in diameter in both PZero and Scorpion.
It is on the basis of this undeniable reality of technology,product and market that Planet Zero presents itself to the international audience today,with great objectives and ambitions. A complete and diversified offer,scheduled to be further extended within a short period, the maximum level of technology guaranteed by its MIRS ™robotised production process links,an exceptional portfolio of homologations for all kinds of cars and SUVs,which constitute the identity card of a real ‘separate planet ’in the world of tyres. The road is our friend,and it has only just started -with the world ’s finest cars.