SCOTTISH STYLE FOR THE NEW VREDESTEIN QUATRAC5 AND SNOWTRAC5
Winter and All Season by Vredestein
They are called Quatrac 5 and Snowtrac 5, they are new and to test them Vredestein has decided to organize a fascinating event in Scotland
When the editorial staff suggested a two days trip to Scotland to participate to the presentation of Vredestein’s new Quatrac 5 and Snowtrac 5, I gladly accepted, both for the prestige of the company and the appeal of the location.
Vredestein is in fact a respected brand, and even if its production and fame is not up to some of its main competitors, it still holds an excellent reputation among experts and insiders. Its tires are rather specialized and suitable for difficult weather conditions, even when reaching speed symbols up to Y.
The history of the company is a rather long one and started in 1908 in Delft, The Netherlands, and continued throughout the century among commercial accomplishments, takeovers and company reorganizations until 2009, when an Indian tire company, Apollo Tyres Ltd., purchased it. The premium production remains in The Netherlands: the Enschede factory alone produces over 6 million tires every year.
The no-compromise winter tire Snowtrac 5 and the All-season Quatrac 5 are Vredestein’s premium products and were presented to the public during the event, in which the company invited a good 600 people including journalists and operators.
The theme was “ To Scotland in style”, and highlighted qualities such as technology, art and a touch of glamour, all elements displayed, for example, during the evening of June 23.
The location selected by the organizers was Mansfield Traquair, a gothic style church built 130 years ago and transformed into a location for all sorts of events; the building is also the seat of the Scottish Council Voluntary Organizations.
One of the highlights of the event was the presence of an Avatar on a 38 metre long electronic display that filled three sides of the hall, showing the characteristics of the new Snowtrac 5 and Quatrac 5.
New and very refined
The same character, supported by a glamorous model, was the protagonist in two footages – shot by Sounds Like Film of Amsterdam with the help of Artin Advertising and directed by Rogier Gerritsen – in which the Quatrac 5 equipped “her” car while “his” car was equipped with a set of Snowtrac 5 and travelling through beautiful mountain sceneries.
The Quatrac 5 has a split tread pattern: the inside half shows a distinct winter design – with many sipes and large grooves for water and snow displacement – while the outer half shows thicker tread blocks and smaller grooves, to enhance driving precision and handling. There is no lack of 3D tread blocks, set deep inside among the sipes in the middle of the tread, to guarantee better grip while cornering and allow the driver to anticipate acceleration out of the corner even on snow and ice.
What the eye can see, as interesting as it may be, (let us not forget that Giugiaro Design has been cooperating with Vredestein for some time now) is just a part of the story. The Quatrac 5 has infact a compound named Full Silica, made with a tandem mixer that makes it possible for the mixing and silanization processes to be performed simultaneously, for better productivity and less energy consumption.
The Quatrac 5 will be available initially in 12 sizes, from 185/65 R15 88H to 225/45 R17.
Made using the same technology in preparing the compound but destined to a very different use is the Snowtrac 5, a no-compromise winter tire.
The tread design appears very aggressive thanks also to special lateral grooves that improve stability and increase the contact patch with the road surface, to improve handling and cornering precision. Despite deep grooves, the central zone is solid and the typical V-shaped tread guarantees stability.
The unavoidable – for winter tires – sipes are rather sophisticated: due to a network of non-parallel sipes, 30% longer than in the Snowtrac 3, the film layer developed by snow, water and ice is easily broken. The sipes have different shapes and depths and run in different directions, and help in defining tread blocks of different sizes, producing a stealth design minimizing vibrations and noise levels.
The special tread compound takes performance in winter conditions to new heights; the Snowtrac 5 is currently available in sizes ranging from 165/70 R14 to 205/50 R16.
Road and art
The evening didn’t finish there, since a question time with a number of Apollo Vredestein staff members took place: among others there were Onkar Kanwar (Chairman & Managing Director of Apollo), the son Neeraj Kanwar (Vice Chaiman & managing Director of Apollo), Marco Paracciani (Chief Marketing Officer of Apollo Tires) and Peter Snel (Chief R&D PV); and finally the host, Luis Ceneviz, President of ESSAA Region. In the end, friendly and professional as always, were Stefano Sbarzaglia, Country Manager Italia, and Giovanni Masinelli, Responsible for Global Brand Vredestein.
Among the many questions we picked one that dealt with the improvements introduced in the two 5 versions: Peter Snel replied that every aspect has been improved, from the tread design to the compound, to reach the best compromise Vredestein has ever produced. We further learned that Vredestein will never produce tires for trucks and busses and that the company is currently developing class AA tires for electric cars.
Glamour and tradition completed the evening: the first was represented by the all-girl string quartet eScala (the young musicians also performed The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, to symbolize the versatility of the Quatrac 5) while the second saw a traditional group of Scottish bagpipes.
The following day was dedicated to road testing for the Quatrac 5, fitted on a fleet of Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3. The unpredictable weather, with very “Scottish” fine rain and wet road, allowed testing, at least in part, Quatrac’s quality. The first impressions, though limited, confirm the all-seasons essence of the tires, precise and “consistent” even at high speed on motorways and safe even under precarious conditions. The hybrid nature of the tire was evident mostly because of the rather high noise level compared to the summer models.
And the Snowtrac 5? The conditions were not ideal to put them to the test, but the tires found an ideal setting in an igloo placed in the garden of Gosford House, a splendid country estate that is as Scottish as can be….