PERFORMANCE TIRE GIANT – PIRELLI VS. MICHELIN
For decades, Pirelli and Michelin dominated the summer performance tire market. Michelin had the Power Sport that first made an appearance in the early 50s.
Pirelli had the P Zero that served them so well in formula racing. Both companies are over a hundred years old, but they took different roads to arrive at the top of the pile. Michelin has always been the transparent company focusing on the quality and features of their rubber. While Pirelli hooked its star to the success of glamorous brands resulting in relationships with Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and other exotic Italian brands.
That said, Michelin and Pirelli both have a lot in common as well and are often comparable. Both take great pride in the quality of their products. As a result, both companies have always invested heavily in research and product development and it’s not surprising that both have contributed innovations to the tire industry. Established by innovators, Michelin has by far the most important contributions to tire technology.
Pirelli made smaller adjustments to its product but the most important in the performance area was the tire developed for the Lancia Stratos rally car. The Lancia rally racing tires were a cross ply design that enhanced their reliability and had great gripping characteristics. But cross ply tires were heavy, so Pirelli created a radial tire with a small sidewall that gave super cornering maneuverability, great grip and durability. Today all rally tires are radials.
The rest of the competition was not sitting by idly. Advances in tire technology resulted in other brands seriously chasing the performance tire market particularly Continental and Bridgestone. Not one to sit on their laurels, Michelin and Pirelli made major changes and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S and a new line of options for the Pirelli P Zero appeared
Pirelli vs. Michelin - Best Summer/Performance Tires
“Best” is a subjective term. Best is determined by end user satisfaction and that goes double for performance tires. If you are a performance enthusiast and you want rubber that gives your everyday ride the grip and go its great big engine provides, you are going to have different expectations than the driver who is hardcore and spends all the time on the track. And that’s why both Pirelli and Michelin offer different tires for different needs. If end user satisfaction can be demonstrated by the number of tires purchased, both Pirelli and Michelin remain at the top of the heap for performance rubber.