C7 Tire Development
Every 2014 Stingray wears Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZP high- performance tires. There are two tire choices: The base car gets P245/40ZR18 fronts and P285/35ZR19 rears, while Z51 Corvettes wear lower-profile P245/35ZR19 fronts and P285/30ZR20 rears. Both sets are speed rated to over 186 mph.
Michelin's technical partnership with Corvette started during the 2004 Twelve Hours of Sebring, where the C5.R race cars used Michelins competition tires. In 2007, Michelin was awarded the original-equipment fitment for the upcoming ZR1. Since that time, the Corvette team has collaborated with Michelin to develop ultra-high- performance tires for other Vettes.
While GM was working on the Stingray, Michelin began developing a tire that would match its performance. This was certainly a tall order, as the new Vette's tires had to have good tread life and efficiency, as well as low noise. But they also had to have excellent performance in the rain, and immense dry handling and grip levels for low lap times. Michelin spent almost three years and conducted nearly 12,000 hours of tire design, development, and testing using state-of-the-art computer modeling and thousands of miles of testdriving.
An impressive aspect of the Pilot Super Sport ZP is its immense grip from a 300-treadwear rating. That grip is thanks to an optimized contact-patch design, along with footprint-stress research and precise tire-profile choices. Tread-sculpture stiffness optimization was also key, so Michelin focused on the front/rear balance for wet and dry performance, while delivering very good tire wear.
Different design choices were made for the Base and Z51 tire models, to best match the desires of GM engineers. The base car's tire gives balanced, all-around performance, along with high ride comfort, wet capability, and rolling resistance.
The Z51 package's tire, meanwhile, offers near-racing-slick grip and handling levels. A dual tread compound uses ZR1 tire technology to meet the Corvette team's track-performance goals. Different belt angles and lower, stiffer sidewalls yield even better cornering prowess.
All that work clearly paid off: In GM testing, a Stingray equipped with the Z51 package recorded an amazing 1.03g lateral-acceleration number. How's that for tire performance?
Corvette Tire Care
Corvettes have long been shod with top-notch rubber, but 1990-present models got truly cutting-edge tire technology. In 1994, the Vette was the first vehicle to get optional run-flat tires. And in 1997, Goodyear's Extended Mobility Technology tires became standard fitment. C5 Z06s yanked our heads back with grippy Goodyear F1s, and the C6 ZR1's Michelin Sport Cup gumballs obliterated the line between street and race rubber.
Because our cars come such amazing tires, it just makes sense to keep them in tiptop shape. Here's how:
- Locate your car's proper tire-inflation pressure. It can be found on the tire decal, which is usually mounted on the inside edge of the driver's door or in the glovebox.
- Check your tire pressure once every few months. Tires lose around one pound of pressure a month, and can lose an additional pound for every 10-degree drop in outside temperature.
- Check tire pressure in the early morning, when the temperature is lowest and the tires are "cold."
- Digital or dial-type pressure gauges are the most precise, but a stick type will work too.
- Use an upside-down quarter in the tread grooves to measure your tread depth. If part of Washington's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4⁄32-inch left. Tires with less than 4⁄32-inch of tread can affect how your Corvette handles, and should therefore be replaced.
- Use your hands to feel around each tire. Check for uneven wear, bulges, punctures, or indentations. If you find a problem, don't drive the car until you've had the tire inspected.
- Follow the tire-rotation schedule, and always have your car aligned at a reputable shop with experience servicing Corvettes.
- Only use non-petroleum-based products to clean your tires.
- When parking your Corvette for extended periods, be sure to keep your tires properly inflated to avoid flat-spotting. Also keep them out of the sun if possible.