Text and photos by Cheryl Tay
You’re probably familiar with Bridgestone for its great involvement in Formula 1 up till the 2010 season. With the amount of technology, research and development, and resources that go into that area, it is almost a given that Bridgestone has the ability to produce excellent tyres, especially those in the ultra-high performance range.
The POTENZA RE47 made its debut in 1947 and since then the POTENZA brand has established itself in the sports driving enthusiast world. Six decades later, the POTENZA Adrenalin RE001 was introduced and it was such a huge success that nearly one million pieces of the RE001 was sold in Asia Pacific alone.
Now comes the launch of the POTENZA Adrenalin RE002, the newest in this ultra-high performance line. The RE002 is planned around the objective of “Driving Pleasure” – as defined by Bridgestone – the ability to control the vehicle as desired, have confidence about road contact feeling and to drive safely.
According to Bridgestone, the purpose is to give maximum pleasure of sporty driving while the concept behind it is to improve basic performance such as grip, stability and response in the dry, while enhancing further performance in the wet and rolling resistance control.
Targeted at the enthusiasts and performance-oriented car lovers, the development of the RE002 took over a period of one year and was mostly done in Japan with some in Thailand. Suited for cars such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswagen Scirocco, Subaru Impreza WRX and Honda Civic Type-R, the RE002 is only launched as a replacement tyre and not as any Original Equipment tyres at the moment.
Sometime in early March, selected members of the media were invited by Bridgestone to visit their proving grounds just outside of Bangkok, Thailand to test the new POTENZA Adrenalin RE002 tyres. We had a Volkswagen Golf GTI, Volkswage Scirocco and Subaru Impreza WRX STI across a few stations to test the different aspects of the tyre.
Compared to the RE001, the RE002 is said to have sharpened handling response, better grip, improved dry and wet cornering, more direct steering feel as well as reduced rolling resistance for better economy.
At each station, we were given the opportunity to test both the RE001 and the RE002 through the same obstacles so as to be able to tell the difference instantly. Designed with three grooves and a centre rib (one less groove than the RE001), the RE002 gives better stability, feel and handling response.
Performance in the wet is much improved, as tested in a series of straights, bends and tight corners with purposefully-wet grounds. Cutting through the wet floor easily, while retaining an excellent amount of grip, helped to keep the car safe and gave the driver confidence too.
This wet-handling performance advancement is due to the revised silica-based compound used in the RE002 that gives better overall grip, along with new technologies such as the pulse groove and deflector. The pulse groove is a motorsport-inspired wave design that aids better drainage and anti-hydroplaning performance, while deflectors are the raised protrusions on the groove floor.
Fans of the RE001 should need no convincing to try this tyre, while others who once had doubts about the RE001 can decide to try the new RE002 to see if it changes their mind. Manufactured in sizes 15” to 20”, the RE002 is only scheduled for launch in Singapore in the second half of the year.
*This was first published in Best Car Singapore.