Pirelli has constructed its first ultra high performance tire containing natural rubber from the guayule plant. The prototype tire was recently tested on the Italian tiremaker’s Vizzola and Balocco test tracks on a Maserati.
The tire took two years to develop from primary materials research to testing, Pirelli said.
On the test track, the tires were subjected to extreme usage simulations, including wet conditions, and demonstrated the same performance as the equivalent tires made with synthetic polymers from oil-derived products, according to Pirelli.
“The track testing phase of our guayule rubber tires has been more than positive. The choice of a high-performance car to carry out these tests was dictated by the need to place the biggest possible demands on the tires and extract the most meaningful results. After the success of this first phase, we are now assessing the possibility of trying out these prototype tires in winter conditions,” said Fabrizio Sanvito, project management and technical benchmark at Pirelli.
In 2013, Pirelli signed an agreement with Versalis (Eni) for an exclusive supply of guayule natural rubber for use in its tires. The tiremaker has been working with Versalis as it researches the use of guayule in its tires, Pirelli said.