Pirelli Scorpion Verde launch.
Having fun in an Audi A5 at AIDIADA test track, Barcelona.
Through the windscreen of the new Audi Q5, there stretched ahead of me, a clear tarmac test track, carefully sprayed with an even depth of water from nozzles hidden at the edge of the track. To the left and right of the track were wide run off areas, should anything go wrong, and in the passenger seat was Sarah Brown, Pirelli’s U.K. PR Exec. She assumed that, as a motoring writer (of sorts) I had done this sort of thing before and would steer the pair of us round the AIDIADA test track near Barcelona, with an instinctive masculine skill, fuelled entirely on testosterone. Nothing could be further from the truth! My 4x4 driving has always been geared towards clearing obstacles that would be impossible in an ordinary car - mud, sand, water etc.
There were already a few others out on the track, but sensibly spaced out, so seeing a sizeable gap I set off, building up speed gradually until I became familiar with both the car and the layout of the track. After a couple of laps I upped the speed, watching Sarah’s right foot stabbing at an imaginary brake pedal, whilst I tried to remember lessons learned whilst eavesdropping on a days tuition my son had at Prescott hill climb circuit ‘tight in, wide out, clip the apex, etc.’ What was incredible, was that how ever fast I went and however pale Sarah became in the passenger seat, the Q5 refused to loose it’s grip on the tarmac! It would under steer slightly if really pushed, but cornering at speeds I would hesitate to try, even in the dry, it did not once leave my control and venture out onto the spin off area.
Whilst being great fun, there was also a scientific purpose to all this. Pirelli were launching their new Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyre aimed squarely at the S.U.V. market with the aim of helping owners reduce emissions, fuel consumption and road noise without sacrificing performance. The AIDIADA proving ground, set high in the hills to the west of Barcelona is an independent car testing facility, similar to MIRA in the U.K. We were shown into various laboratories to witness tightly controlled, European spec. tests, to assess the new tyre. Obviously, it is quieter, lighter, and much better than the tyre it is replacing. That is progress and this will result in better fuel economy, higher mileage, quieter use and greater safety,whilst retaining the performance that Pirelli have been associated with since the launch of the first Cinturato radial tyre back in the fifties. So renowned was the brand then, that adverts for second hand sports cars would specify ‘cints’ to add greater perceived value and sporting heritage.
The launch of a new tyre is not something to be taken lightly and seeing behind the scenes gave a fascinating insight into just how much scientific development goes into a performance tyre. The end result may be more expensive to buy, but the rewards will wipe out that excess over the life of the tyre and the much maligned users of SUV’s and Crossover 4x4s can at least argue that they have gone some way to redress the balance in terms of environmental impact.
The new Pirelli Scorpion Verde, compared with its predecessor, has;
20% less rolling resistance.
Is 10% lighter in weight.
Will record fuel savings of between 2.5% and 3.9%
Offers 30% less perceived noise.
Has 0% Highly Aromatic Oils (Petrol based) used in its compounds.
The tread expels a stunning 41 litres of water, per second, at 90 kph.