Automotive

Published on September 15th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair

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Pirelli Create A Tyre for the Now-Classic Jaguar XJ220

Jaguar Classic is to develop a new tyre package for the classic XJ220 sports car. Engineered and created in partnership with Pirelli, the new tyre features a bespoke P Zero design that is perfectly suited to the unique characteristics of the XJ220, incorporating the latest tyre technology to enhance the car’s performance even further.

Produced between 1992 and 1994, the Jaguar XJ220 was originally conceived by a group of Jaguar engineers – the so-called ‘Saturday Club’ – working in their spare time on their own creations.  The engineers wanted to create a modern version of the brand’s successful Le Mans-winning cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s using the latest racing technology at their disposal. The car needed to be a technologically advanced road-going supercar that would satisfy Group B homologation requirements and reach over 200mph.

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It certainly fulfilled its brief and overcame a number of complex engineering hurdles at the time and in June 1993, driven by ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle at the Nardo circuit in Italy, hit 349.4km/h. This prompted the Guinness Book of Records (Editions 1994-1999) to state that this was “the fastest speed ever attained by a standard production car”.

However the XJ220 wasn’t just about straight-line speed as it captured the Nurburgring lap record in 1992 in a time of 7:46.36sec – a record that stood for nearly a decade.

P Zero is Pirelli’s ultimate expression of high performance tyres. In fact, the same name is still used by Pirelli at the very top levels of motorsport, from Formula 1 to GT racing: which the XJ220 concept was originally created for.

Jaguar XJ220

The original P Zero range was introduced back in 1987 to equip the then-new Ferrari F40, before being introduced to the world’s other top cars. Since then, the range has been continuously evolving to reflect the thrilling technological arms race between today’s supercar manufacturers: right up to the launch of the newest P Zero earlier this year in Estoril, Portugal.

However, there isn’t just one P Zero. The name describes a whole family of tyres, each of which is specifically created for the car model it is fitted to. This is once again the case for the P Zero, created specifically for the iconic Jaguar XJ220.

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The internal structure of the tyre in particular is highly complex, composed of a number of different elements to provide both performance and reliability. The asymmetric tread pattern too is carefully designed to deliver the best possible balance between road holding, durability and resistance to aquaplaning. There are three distinct tread pattern zones for example, each with different patterns to perform different functions.

While the tyre will maintain the classic looks of the original P Zero, it is still very much a modern creation, using Pirelli’s latest compounds and technologies. This includes internal damping within the tyre to even out shocks, lessen noise, and provide more precise control while increasing comfort.

Pirelli and Jaguar Classic intend to work together to cover further classic Jaguar models with the same approach.

Enquiries should be directed to: [email protected]


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