P ZERO RACE TLR RS – a fast race tyre for the summer

As the days lengthen and temperatures start to climb, it’s time to fit your best tyres. The new Pirelli P ZERO RACE TLR RS claim to be the tyres for racing. They’ve already taken World Tour team Lidl-Trek to over seventy podiums, including thirty victories, as of today. These include second place at Strade Bianche, and second and third at Paris-Roubaix Femmes. That’s some impressive testing!

The P ZERO RACE TLR RS was undercover until now
The P ZERO RACE TLR RS was undercover until now

Until stage 10 of the Giro, they’ve been hiding in plain-sight with a PROTOTYPE logo. Then today, mechanics hurried to swap them for the new, branded version. Pirelli say the P ZERO RACE TLR RS has been “designed and developed specifically for competitions.” They then go on to say it has “strong “racing” spirit; its focus is on grip, in any weather condition,” with “excellent handling when braking and, accelerating“. All that plus, “very low rolling resistance and less weight.

That all makes it sound like the perfect tyre; if such a thing was possible. Certainly that impressive list of results does suggest that Pirelli are on to something. So what changes have been made to these new tubeless race tyres?

New generation SmartEVO2 compound

The first part of the recipe is the tyre’s SmartEVO2 compound, which has evolved since it first appeared. Pirelli used their expertise from the world of motor-sport to change the mix of it’s three ‘smart’ polymers as well as how they are mixed. This work was undertaken at Pirelli’s own manufacturing plant in Italy, close to their R&D facility. Pirelli say the new compound has improved grip, especially on wet surfaces and reduced rolling resistance. Apparently it has 16% less rolling resistance compared to their P ZERO RACE tyre.

The P ZERO RACE TLR RS has improved compound and casing over the previous tyre
The P ZERO RACE TLR RS has improved compound and casing over the previous tyre

SpeedCORE casing

The new P ZERO RACE TLR RS features a lighter version of Pirelli’s patented SpeedCORE casing. The thickness and structure of the casing have been modified, reducing the weight by 8% compared to P ZERO RACE TLR. There’s also a thin air-tight layer of rubber compound infused with aramid particles. This layer covers the inside of the tyre. Adding aramid particles improves the mechanical resistance, air-retention and gives overall greater flexibility. This all adds to the tyre’s overall performance.

Made in Italy at Pirelli’s Milano-Bollate plant

The new tyre is made at Pirelli’s renovated Milano-Bollate plant, which is close to their R&D department in Milan Bicocca. This proximity allowed Pirelli to design and manufacture the new tyre in less than six months. Some of the testing was done virtually as well as at Pirelli’s Indoor Testing centre. Other tests included Lidl-Trek riders riding downhill on Mount Etna and through the Arenberg Forest.

Team mechanics rushed to get the new, labelled P ZERO RACE TLR RS tyres fitted on stage 10 of the Giro
Team mechanics rushed to get the new, labelled tyres fitted on stage 10 of the Giro

All this research and testing Pirelli claim has led to the development of the most cutting-edge version of their road-racing tyres. This puts the P ZERO RACE TLR RS at the top of their road performance tyres and is available in sizes 26-622, 28-622, 30-622 and 32-622. It’s tubeless ready and is compatible with hookless tyres. Pirelli did have problems with hookless compatibility with a few of their P Zero Race TL tyres. This issue was down to a particular rim-tyre and air-pressure combination, which could lead to problems with bead retention. The new tyre’s design solved that issue and with the factory and HQ now so close, it’s easier for Pirelli to keep an eye on manufacturing.

We’ll see if we can get hold of these new P ZERO RACE TLR RS tyres to see how they perform. In the meantime check out the Pirelli’s website. What does the RS stand for? Racing Speed!

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