SµO PAOLO, Brazil-Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp.'s new Pirelli P400 Touring radial is the result of an international development effort spanning three continents. To emphasize this fact, PATC held the formal briefing on the new product for the North American press in March in SÃo Paolo, hosted by PATC's Brazilian sister company, Pirelli Pneus S.A.
Engineers from Pirelli Pneus were instrumental in the P400 Touring's development, cooperating with colleagues from PATC in New Haven, Conn., and parent Pirelli Group in Milan, Italy.
A T-speed-rated ``commodity'' or broad-market, all-season radial, the P400 Touring is positioned between the P300 Touring and the P400 Aquamile-the ``good'' tire in a good-better-best product line-up, according to Franco Carini, marketing manager for PATC.
The P400 Touring will be available in a range of 20 sizes, for 13-, 14- and 15-inch rims, with aspect ratios from 60 to 75 percent. In 70- and 75-series sizes, the tire carries a UTQG rating of 420 AB and a 70,000-mile limited treadwear warranty; 60-/65-series sizes are rated 420 AA with a 60,000-mile warranty.
The computer-optimized tread design features three circumferential grooves to increase water evacuation from the contact area.
Most of the tires will be produced by PATC in the U.S., but five 70-series sizes will be sourced from Pirelli Pneus in Brazil.
A light truck version of the tire, dubbed the P400 APT, also debuted. Available in seven 70- and 75-series sizes for 14- and 15-inch rims, the P400 APT also carries a T speed rating (S for XL sizes) and a UTQG rating of 340 AB.
The light truck version features a raised-white-letter sidewall treatment, while the sidewalls of the passenger version were designed to coordinate with those of the P300 Touring-either blackwall or whitewall.
In developing the P400 Touring, the goal was to improve ride comfort beyond that offered by the P300 Touring without sacrificing other aspects of performance, including wet, dry and snow traction, resistance to hydroplaning and mileage, Mr. Carini said.
To meet these goals, Pirelli designed an all-synthetic tread compound to enhance comfort while maintaining resistance to wear and changed the bead package from a stiff filler/flipper structure to a high-apex filler.
The result, according to Giovanni Rimondi, vice president, research and development for PATC, is a tire that equals or exceeds the performance of the P300 Touring while providing significantly greater ride comfort.
The P400 Touring also outperformed its top competitor, the Goodyear Regatta, by as much as 8 percent on various tests of traction, braking, hydroplaning and wear, while matching it in comfort, Mr. Rimondi said.
Journalists at the press launch in Brazil had an opportunity to repeat some of these tests at Pirelli's proving grounds in Sumare