SOFT TUNING OBJECTIVE FOR ADRENALIN
INTERVIEW WITH GUY OLIVIER DUCAMP, CONSUMER SALES MANAGER, BRIDGESTONE SOUTH EUROPE
Unobtrusively presented about a year ago, the Potenza summer UHP Adrenalin RE002 has returned to centre stage: no longer just for First Stop networks, it has opened up to top-of-the-range retail and targets owners of small and mid-size vehicles who like a sporty drive that promises to be gutsy and fun
IT BEGAN WITH FIRST STOP as the only retail channel in order to give the family network an advantage and a tool for diversification, which turned out to be a providential test ground for identifying the most appropriate positioning. And the decision to open up to the market came once the doubts about any internal competition had been removed and the possible size of a wider target had been understood.
“The initial caution” – explained Guy Olivier Ducamp, consumer sales manager of Bridgestone Europe South Region – “on the basis of which we opted in 2011 for a protective approach for the product, lessened as any cannibalization of the Potenza S001 gradually became more of a remote possibility. Besides, unlike the S001, Adrenalin RE002 is not a suitable tyre for powerful super sports cars but it is a candidate for small and mid-size cars whose owners, and young people especially, like a precise, sporty drive”. A UHP tyre designed to satisfy drivers of the high-spirited Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford Fiesta RS, Alfa Romeo GT or Opel Astra, and also capable, according to the designers, of helping to transform a car’s nature when you want to draw out its feistiness. For city cars and more easy-going saloons, from the Volkswagen Polo to the Citroën C4 and Mercedes Classe C, from the Fiat Grande Punto to the Volvo S80, just to mention a few: the new Bridgestone tyre promises to make them sportier and more fun to drive.
Aggressive positioning and communication
By putting Adrenalin RE002 under the spotlight again, management bore in mind the response of the market, which also indicated that launching it on the web was premature in terms of sales. The driving force behind the debut of the new tyre was the online competition “Adrenalina Pura” (the purchase of a set of tyres through the new firststop.it website). The results helped Bridgestone to define a new commercial policy for this particular product. “Even if it is not to the exclusive advantage of the First Stop network, in any case the distribution of Adrenalin” – Ducamp repeated – “will not be entrusted to everyone indiscriminately, but to selected outlets. This is because we believe that the product must be presented with care and attention by those who are used to handling UHP premium tyres. It is also very important to present Adrenalin RE002 to the correct reference target so that users get the most out of the sporty performance guaranteed by the product. Now we are leveraging product communication aimed at a target where competitive premium brands are fairly absent”.
Performance and fun in safety
Standard brands that consider soft tuning as the traditional terrain for challenges also prefer to concentrate primarily on vehicles in the topmost segments. Adrenalin RE002 is available in 24 sizes from 15” rims, starting at 195/60 R15 88H, to 18” and up to 245/40 R18 97W. Only 4 of these appear to overlap with the S001 range, which boasts Y speed rating. More than half of these sizes are available also for the Turanza T001 design, the declaredly touring nature of which means that it cannot be suspected of insider competition. “The driving fun guaranteed by Adrenalin” – Ducamp added – “is combined with a pleasing look: the asymmetric design is new and very striking and the claw-like shoulder blocks are a reminder of the tyre’s aggressive characteristics. And it can count on advanced construction that gives good grip and handling on dry and wet roads”.
Technically-speaking, the tyre has a double steel belt, new generation beadlocks to the benefit of stability, and nylon spiral reinforcement supresses deformation. The tread ribs between the outside grooves and the shoulder increase block rigidity for prompt steering response and greater grip when cornering, while the centre groove is no longer straight but has a wave design.
Mixed tracks for grip
Two declared effects: first, compared to the RE001, it has four longitudinal grooves instead of three, a wider contact area and greater rigidity to the benefit of handling and response in a sporty drive; second, on wet roads water drainage is faster thanks to the special wave design centre groove and small deflectors on the inside: a Formula 1 solution that proved to limit the turbulence that leads to hydroplaning. Design that exploits the Venturi effect with obvious advantages.
Contributing to improving wet grip and braking is the high silica content compound that combines high rigidity (for grip) and low hysteresis (for lowering rolling resistance). “Without doubt, Adrenalin RE002 has huge potential” – Ducamp emphasized. “But to understand it, the tyre must be tried. The greatest satisfaction doesn’t come from driving fast, but from driving on mixed tracks with lots of corners that are the main challenge for grip. The tyre is progressive and this is particularly appreciated in extreme conditions.” Characteristics that aptly define the product’s sports performance positioning in the Potenza range.
• Road technologies from Motorsport Potenza
The designs of the S001, RE050, RE050A and latest arrival Adrenalin RE002 are the embodiment of the current Potenza sports range. For its development, Bridgestone made full use of the solutions and technical inventions experimented in Formula 1. A period of 14 years that ended in 2010 and was a formidable driving force behind the transfer of technology to the many aspects of tyre performance. Today, the challenge comes from motorsports, where Bridgestone continues its commitment to the SuperGT, Formula Nippon and IndyCar. The Japanese colossus participates in the latter championship with Firestone tyres and it will be the sole supplier until 2018. And in line with a tradition that spans many decades, it will also be the official brand of the Indianapolis 500. In the 96 years of the competition’s history, a team with Firestone tyres has won 63 times.