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Tests with 18-inch tires: GP2 racers with large rubbers

Sean Kelly - Twitter: @virtualstatman
New tests with 18-inch tires
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I n Monaco even without Formula 1 there was a lot to do on the 'free' Friday (May 22, 2015). In addition to the usual framework races, Pirelli completed an interesting show ride on the city circuit in the Principality. With ex-F1 driver and Sky expert Martin Brundle at the wheel, an 18-inch tire for the GP2 series was presented. The large rubber with a lower cross-section had already been extensively tested on the racetrack.

Pirelli wants to bring 18-inchers into Formula 1

The demonstration drive is intended to give fans an outlook on the future. The trend in formula racing is also towards larger bikes. The small 13-inch balloon tires from Formula 1 will soon be a thing of the past. The new look immediately made many new friends. Only the engineers are skeptical. The lower spring properties of the flat rubbers mean that suspensions have to be reinforced and completely redeveloped.

Pirelli had already tried out what the 18-inch model looks like on a Formula 1 car during test drives in Silverstone last year. At that time a Lotus was equipped with the larger rims and tires. The test was very well received by the fans. Those in charge at Pirelli were also enthusiastic. They want to see the low-profile tires in racing as soon as possible.

Michelin is testing 18-inch and 17-inch tires

Not only Pirelli is already working on the development of larger tires. The trend has also been recognized at Michelin. The French already use 18-inchers in Formula E. However, it is an ultra-hard rubber compound with a profile that can withstand several races and is used in both dry and rainy conditions.

Now, for the first time, Michelin has slick tires in 18-inch format tested. A Formula Renault World Series 3.5 racing car was used. The standard series should start in 2016 on the larger rubbers. The small offshoot of the World Series, the Formula Renault 2.0, gets 17 inch tires from Michelin. These have also already been tested.

In our gallery we have the unusual pictures of the most recent test drives by Pirelli and Michelin.

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