Aquaplaning

We rate our tyres' ability to grip a wet road, instead of riding up on the water. Which is the rain master?

To test the level of grip our tyres deliver in the wet, weuse two very different techniques.

First, our Audi A4 was fixed to the rail on the preparedstrip for the straight-line aquaplaning test. This ensured that, as we accelerated,the left-hand tyre ran through 7mm of water on each run.

We measured the speedwhen this wheel was spinning 15 per cent faster than the one in the dry – the pointat which control is lost.

For our second aquaplaning assessment, we drove through aflooded five-metre strip on a tarmac circle, increasing speed until all gripwas lost. Lateral force was rated throughout by a g-meter. No matter how you measureaquaplaning, though, Goodyear’s amazing OptiGrip was the clear winner. We got upto more than 55mph in a straight line before grip was lost.

Fellow wet weather expert Vredestein was runner-up both times,and in the straight test it got closer to the Goodyear.

Dry track winnerBridgestone proved itself in the wet, too, with third and fourth in the twodisciplines. Continental took the final podium spot on the curve, but was fifthin a straight line.

Fulda and Kumho also fared better on the curve, whilePirelli scored two mid-table results.

The big surprise was Michelin. It languished at the bottomof the results in the corner test, behind even the struggling Wanli andHankook. It was better than both in a straight line, but bosses won’t bepleased by this performance.

Hankook also needs to look at its tyre’s design, while Wanliwas at least in touch with the rest this time. Debutant Maxxis has work to do,though, as the pre-production M36 struggled in our aquaplaning tests.

Straight aqua results
Goodyear 100.0
Vredestein 96.5
Bridgestone 95.1
Pirelli 94.4
Continental 94.0
Dunlop 94.0
Fulda 93.8
Kumho 91.1
Michelin 90.2
Hankook 89.6
Wanli 88.9
Maxxis 84.9
 
Curved aqua results
Goodyear 100.0
Vredestein 94.3
Continental 94.0
Bridgestone 91.4
Fulda 89.6
Kumho 88.1
Pirelli 85.9
Dunlop 85.3
Wanli 85.2
Hankook 82.7
Michelin 80.3
Maxxis 77.3
 

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