When it comes to tyres, there are many categories like summer tyres, winter tyres, all-season tyres, touring tyres, performance tyres, etc. Well, these are the tyre types that most of us have come across. However, ‘Ultra-High Performance a.k.a UHP tyre’ is a slightly lesser-known term among the larger audience. Nevertheless, it is a well-versed fixation in the high-octane sports car/supercar community worldwide.
Ultra-high performance (UHP) tyres are meant to handle a greater horsepower, enhance high-performance driving and hand out sporty, responsive drive with outstanding traction levels. With such brilliant aptitude and undergoing extreme tests, the UHP tyres can clock a whopping speed of 240-300 km/hr. Alongside great speed, UHP tyres also improve a vehicle’s traction, cornering potential and dissipation of heat. At the very beginning, the UHP tyres were totally restricted to high-end sports cars. With changing times and consumer demand, the car manufacturers internationally now offer performance-tuned versions of their admired vehicles, which can be shod with UHP tyres.
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These performance specialist tyres flaunt high price tags and also do not possess long tread life as the customary all-season tyres do. The tyres with “feel-the-road” factor stick to the surface like a leech in order to assure the utmost level of street performance every time you are behind the steering. The UHP tyres should not be confused with touring tyres, which are more inclined towards high tread life and comfort on open stretches, as they cannot withstand the high-level performance of UHP tyres.
These set of performance tyres are infused with revolutionary silica rubber compound and are built to cope with car engine’s high-performance needs. The UHP tyres focus on three prime development areas viz. construction (for effective handling, stability and steering precision), compound (that adapts to the road surface for high-end grip) and tread pattern (groove and blocks tactically placed for grip, control and shorter braking distances). It gets wider tread to ensure high-speed safety and maximum contact with the road surface. The rim size is larger than regular ones and sidewalls are narrow to create space for larger brakes. This results in a lower aspect ratio that guarantees superior control, better handling and higher stability at high speeds.
To cater enthusiasts round the year and from every corner of the world, the UHP tyres are made available under all categories i.e. summer, winter, and all-season.
Summer UHP Tyres: The UHP tyres for hot summers are formulated for excellent performance under dry and damp conditions along with a special focus on high-speed cornering. However, with a drop in the mercury levels, they tend to lose a bit on the traction aspect.
All-Season UHP Tyres: The tyres that suit all weathers, offers grip somewhat less than summer tyres under warm settings. However, on the positive side, they provide adequate traction in rest weather situations year long.
Winter UHP Tyres: They provide exceptional grip in chilly conditions like snow and ice. To denote their specialization, on the sidewalls, the performance winter tyres are inscribed with a mountain and snowflake mark. Winter/snow UHPs are made available with a bigger width to cater to performance-oriented cars.
Tested by professional racers and expert tyre technicians, the core aspects that are evaluated in a UHP tyre mainly comprise of handling, steering response, stability and grip.
The tyre is tested for its cornering skills as to how well does it holds the ground during corner at high speeds. Does it merely spins around or provides stability and traction feel during acceleration. Responsiveness related to steering is sensed with regards to how well the tyre reacts, whether it is quick, slow or poor in responding to the steering movement. Tyre balance is also important here. It’s examined whether the tyre understeers or maintains its position during high-speed acceleration.
The tyres from UHP category are not intended towards durability or longevity. As they are inclined to respond to performance-oriented engines of exotic sports cars and high-speed sedans they are more centred on the performance side with their low-profile and high-steering response nature. As a result, they don’t last long and wear quite early compared to the standard all-season tyres seen in cars. As per some tread wear tests, regular all-season tyres on an average cover a distance of more than 100,000 kilometres. Coming to the UHP tyres, the summer UHPs lasted for about meagre 40,000-54,000 kilometres. However, the all-season UHP tyres fared quite well and on an average clocked above 75,000 kilometres.
Where can UHP tyres be used?
There were times when the ultra-high performance tyres were restricted to track use only. However, with the evolvement of the technology, the current generation modern-day UHP tyres now serve dual purpose i.e. they can be used on road as well on the track.
The UHP tyres are road legal in India and can be spotted on high-end luxury cars such as Mercedes Benz GL Class, Mercedes Benz S Class, Rolls Royce Drophead, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, BMW M Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW Gran Turismo, Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Vantage, BMW 6 Series, Nissan 370Z and others.
To know whether it’s an ultra-high performance or a regular tyre you should first know how to read a tyre. Every tyre’s size is mentioned on its sidewalls, which comprise of width, aspect ratio, speed rating, load index, construction type and rim diameter. Here, out of all, what matters with respect to UHP tyre is its speed rating that is mostly V (240 km/hr), W (270 km/hr) and Y (300 km/hr).
Against the standard tyres, the UHP tyres are on the pricier side as a lot of research, extensive testing and use of innovative raw material go into the making of these sport-ridden performance tyres. The price of the UHP tyres in India may vary depending upon the brand (domestic or foreign), segment and rim dimensions. Well, on an average they are priced at around Rs 15,000 per tyre onwards and can go up to in excess of Rs 50,000 per tyre.
There are many prominent tyre brands that manufacture UHP tyres. Some of the most famous and internationally acclaimed being Pirelli, Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Bridgestone, Yokohama, and so on. Moreover, with an increased demand for UHP tyres in India, there are many domestic tyre makers that have UHP tyres under their portfolio which include JK Tyre, Apollo (under Vredestein brand), etc.
There can be several reasons to go for a UHP tyre, one being quite obvious that your vehicle originally came outfitted UHP tyres and to continue the performance aspect of your car UHPs are vital. Secondly, if you are an enthusiast and regularly turn up for driving or racing events UHP tyres are a must.
Or else, even if you are a wannabe professional racer at nascent stage UHP tyres are mandatory. In both the driving setups standard tyres would not be able to handle immense stress thrown at it, which may lead to severe damage to its sidewall and tread area coupled with patchy and insecure grip. Some of the popular UHP tyre makes are engineered to counter these harsh stress levels and hand over sustained performance.
Other motives behind opting for performance tyres can be you want to extract maximum out of your vehicle performance alongside maintaining best possible traction and feel; UHP tyres become essential here. Furthermore, if you crave for max performance but at the same time concerned about the safety factor, say hello to UHP tyres; they deliver exceptional traction and performance hence maximum safety.
With upcoming and existing luxury and performance car brands and bettering road infrastructure, the UHP tyre sector in India is currently on the surge. So if you are looking to buy ultra-high-performance tyres for your vehicle you can shop from www.tyremarket.com. India’s no. 1 online tyre portal in India has an extensive range of UHP tyres from leading international brands.