This Is How Much Better Tires And A Few Decades Make A Difference

This Is How Much Better Tires And A Few Decades Make A Difference

It’s easy to forget that cars—even or especially performance cars—do get markedly better over time. Take this comparison of a 1987 Ruf CTR and a 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 on the same stretch of the Nürburgring. The Ruf driver is engaged in battle, while the 911 driver might as well have been sipping tea.

Listen, if you can:

As some Reddit commenters point out in this thread, tires are a big factor here, since tire tech has improved remarkably in even that short amount of time.

Take this from from a few years back:

All these advances have come through extensive modelling of tires and road conditions on super computers. Computer modelling has answered the “what if” questions for engineers — “what if” we added this chemical; “what if” we changed the belts; “what if” the molecule of rubber were shaped differently. Finding such answers with prototype tires took too much money and too much testing time. Now tire engineers work at the nanometre level (one billionth).

Tire companies are altering how the various chemical elements in the tire link together, to make the product last longer, or be stickier, or both. Some tires use multiple tread compounds across the face of the tire, each for a specific weather condition. Goodyear’s TripleTred uses three.

Materials in the tires have evolved, growing both stronger and lighter; the weight of the tire has come down and the strength has gone up. Steel belts have replaced fabric cord. Less weight in the tire means better fuel economy and sharper handling. Goodyear makes extensive use of Kevlar in tires, as it’s stronger and lighter than steel, and is starting to make use of carbon-fibre. Lower tire weight has made lower profile tires possible.

And this is not even to mention suspension and transmission improvements. I’m sure the Ruf driver had more fun, though, even if he probably felt like his steering wheel was only vaguely connected to the front wheels.

[h/t u/IIStroke]