AIMING FOR THE TOP
GT radial sport active uhp
Following the launch of the new UHP Sport Active, the programmed renewal of the GT Radial tire range, started two years ago, bets on high technical standards
GT Radial’s new course started a couple of years ago. Through a major product update (as well as organizational) which involved mainly the European tire range, certainly smaller as far as sales volumes are concerned, but characterized by higher technological contents compared to the rest of the production. After the Champiro FE1 destined to mid-size vehicles and the Savero SUV intended for sport utilities, the product update now involves the top of the range, or the ultra high performance Sport Active, launched to replace the previous Champiro UHP1 alongside – same Y speed rating - the already appreciated Champiro HPY.
Developed in close collaboration between GT Radial’s Asian manufacturing districts and the its European Research and Development center in Hanover, Germany, where the guidelines for the production of tires destined to the European market are established, the new Sport Active is the first model of the range to introduce an innovative tread compound, capable of ensuring a regular tread ware, which for a high-performance tire, means being able to maintain an appreciable road handling and guarantee safety in all conditions throughout the life span of the tire. Performances guaranteed by an asymmetric tread pattern in three distinct elements: a rigid outer part of the tread capable of handling load transfers and lateral forces, an inner section with grooves which feature ‘micro dot’ technology to enhance water displacement and reduce rolling noise and a central section boasting four longitudinal grooves able to guarantee a greater grip at high speed as well as in wet conditions reducing the risk of aquaplaning.
It is no coincidence then, that the new GT Radial Sport Active gains a European B rating in all its versions for braking distance on wet roads, while scoring a B or C rating, depending on the size, for rolling resistance with a 71 / 72 dB rolling noise index.
According to Daria Sala Della Cuna, GiTi general manager for Italy and the Iberian peninsula “this sudden change of pace addresses the need to keep up with a bustling European market, which has positively recognized the current repositioning of the GT Radial brand on the market for high-end products”. The consistent commitment towards technological developments, using new and innovative materials along with a highly competitive price/quality ratio compared to some of the best known brands on the market, are responsible for this new brand image. An aggressive approach to the European market that, says Daria Sala "... following the rising demands and anticipating a higher distribution volume across Europe, including Russia, is likely to force us in considering the option of a larger and more centralized logistic centers, in which to gather all imports facilitating a faster, more flexible handling at local level, especially for products with a low turnover". A possible strategic expansion which takes into account also the presence of other brands of the GiTi Group such as Primewell and Runway, aimed at gaining a larger share of the budget-oriented market.
Destined to sports coupes, such as the VW Polo GTi, Giulietta Turbo, Fiat Punto Abarth not to mention the Subaru Impreza, BMW 5 Series, Audi RS8 and Porsche 911, the Sport Active will be available from the month of April in eight sizes ranging between 17 and 18 inches, although the complete offer will be made up by 31 different products, once the new tires hit the market, with V, W and Y speed ratings in sizes ranging between 195/45 R16 and 255/35 R19.
The commercial challenge ahead cannot overlook the availability of complete product ranges aimed at satisfying a growing and very articulate demand, a boat not to be missed, reason why GT Radial is determined to continue in its renovation program with further news. First of all, a new winter tire, expected to make its debut next year, which will complete the seasonal offer currently present on the company’s catalog.
The best rating for a new product can only come through a direct comparison with its direct competitors. The opportunity to field test the Sport Active was offered by GT Radial through its dynamics sessions organized for journalists and customers from all over Europe, who met last March at the Ascari race circuit, near Malaga, Spain, where the new Sport Active was put through its paces in three different tests: on a fast circuit, in tight corners and, of course, a wet track.
Let's start with the first session, behind the wheel of a 231 hp Mini JKW Turbo equipped with 205/45 R17 low profile tires, that on a stretch of tight corners littered with pins required rapid steering to the point of getting smoking tires. Despite the uninterrupted sessions and an initial tread wear, due to the rough Iberian asphalt, the performance of the Sport Active appears constant throughout the duration of our tests, highlighting an appreciable stiffness of the casing with a reduced drift when cornering. The second adrenaline filled session, was performed on-board a 330 hp Audi TT-S Turbo, where the Sport Active 245/40 R18 allowed to push the German sports coupe to the limit, alternating long straights and tight corners. The tires’ driving precision coped with the corners guaranteeing great handling in fast corners without the need to correct the driving line. Finally, in wet conditions, with a 220 hp VW Golf GTI with stability control purposely disconnected and sudden bursts of water causing the car to lose control, which was readily regained through its superior wet road handling.
In non-extreme driving conditions its behavior suits the weather condition guaranteeing superior grip and handling in deep puddles as much as in fast corners where at the first hint of under-steer just easing off the throttle helps in regaining grip and realigning the car on its original driving line.
Maximum grip and driving precision to be found on far more expensive premium tire ranges, demonstrating the ambition of GT Radial, as proudly displayed on the Sport Active data sheet, declaring a mileage in excess of 40,000 km in optimal driving conditions. Just enough to guarantee safety and prolonged driving pleasure.