Tires can make the difference between safety and hazard. They can safeguard you from a crash or can send you and your car full speed ahead, straight into it. Felix Schonhofer from Mercedes-AMG travels to France to get the explanations from the pros at the Michelin tires testing facility.
Dirk McDonald is Head of Tire Development for Mercedes-AMG. He is in Ladoux, France, at the Michelin Technology Center. He is the one who explains how every car gets a bespoke tire in a YouTube post on the “Inside AMG” channel. As usual, Felix Schonhofer, Head of Product/Lifecycle Management at Mercedes-AMG is the host.
In the garage, engineers are working on what seems to be a camouflaged Mercedes-AMG SL. The canvas roof betrays it. The video was uploaded on YouTube this February, with the SL already in series production. So it makes us guess that filming took place sometime last fall, if we also consider the sunny weather and green grass showing up in the video. The SL broke cover by the end of October.
A major part of the testing takes place on the track. The experts cover thousands of kilometers before they greenlight a tire. Testing tire prototypes includes running the car in every kind of weather, in any weather conditions.
Almost every track test ends with this conclusion: “There is room for improvement.” The improvement refers to road behavior when pushing the car to the limit, grip, precision, linearity, feedback, and noise. Again and again, until they get it right and the car drives straight. When the car hits the showroom, it will have tires that will give the driver the necessary confidence in safety.
On board the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series at the Michelin testing facility
The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, wearing the famous orange-and-black livery, is also at the test track. Behind the wheel of the car is Manuel Metzger, winner of the 2016 24 Hours of Nurburgring race. If that’s not in the name of performance, then what is? Felix puts on a racing suit and a helmet. And the best is yet to come.