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Goodyear's out

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DETROIT—General Motors Co. has picked Michelin North America Inc. as the exclusive supplier of OE tires for the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, GM's seventh iteration of its iconic sports car now in its 60th year of production.

The selection ends a decades-long relationship between GM and Goodyear on the Corvette, including a run of more than 30 years when Goodyear was the exclusive supplier.

The 2014 Corvette is just the second version of the car to bear the Stingray name, GM said, and reflects the complete overhaul of the car technologically. The new Corvette Stingray is capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in under four seconds while also delivering up to 30 mpg, GM executives said at the car's debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Michelin developed a new iteration of its Pilot performance line, the Pilot Super Sport ZP run-flat, for this contract. The standard 2014 'Vette sports car rolls on P245/40R18 front and P285/35R19 rear, while the Z51 Performance Package gets an optional tuned version of the tire in larger sizes—P245/-35R19 front and P285/-35R20 rear, Michelin said. Both come on distinct alloy wheels.

Being selected as the OE supplier continues Michelin's recent run with GM on the Corvette. The car maker first picked Michelin for the 2009 Corvette ZR1 and 2011 Cor-vette Z06.

GM selected Michelin over Goodyear this time around for the complete lineup, according to Autoweek magazine, after a head-to-head comparison.

Goodyear declined to comment specifically on the Corvette situation, saying only it will continue to offer a range of Eagle UHP tires in sizes to fit the car.

The Pilot Super Sport ZP tire “exemplifies Michelin's commitment to innovation and our aim to deliver the best possible performances in every tire we make,” said John Moloney, vice president of OE marketing at Michelin North America.

Michelin said it performed more than 12,000 hours in tire design during the vehicle development process using computer tire modeling and completing thousands of miles of subjective test driving.

The Pilot Super Sport for the Z51 Performance Package is different from the tire found on the base Stingray, the tire maker said, because of the Z51 version's more aggressive level of performance. Thus the design is derived from a combination of technologies found on the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup ZP—used on the Corvette C6 ZR1 and Z06—and from development improvements found in Pilot Super Sport.

It also features a dual-tread compound and pattern that achieves “near-racing-slick grip and handling levels” while providing longer tread life and wet-handling capabilities, Michelin said.

In general the Super Sport ZP incorporates technical advancements such as:

c A computer-modeled footprint shape based on feedback from racing tires;

c An aramid cap ply tuned for optimum contact patch control for high speed and high-performance tire handling and wear life;

c An internal compound designed to reduce rolling resistance and maximize overall vehicle fuel economy without compromising other performances; and

c Asymmetric run-flat inserts and a carcass configuration designed to broaden performance by focusing the run-flat function to the interior sidewall, thus allowing more latitude to engineer handling and ride characteristics into the outboard sidewall.

Michelin also referenced race tire development work it performed for the factory-supported Corvette racing team in the American Le Mans Series as a factor in this development.

GM did not disclose its sales expectations for the new "Vette. In 2012 GM built 14,960 Corvettes.

Helping to stop the new "Vette are brakes with four-piston fixed calipers from Brembo S.p.A. Brakes on the base car measure 12.6 inches in front and 13.3 inches in back, providing 35-percent more swept area than the C6. The Z51 adds dual-cast ventilated rotors measuring 13.6 inches in front and 13.3 inches in back.

Autoweek, a Detroit-based companion publication of Tire Business, contributed to this article. To reach this reporter:; 330-865-6145.
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