New rubber revelations with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on 2013 Nissan GTR Black Edition
Remember when I said “Next year in the 1:04s” ? Well, I dun did it! Look ma, I dun did it!!i

With new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires strapped to the Rays forged Black Edition rims, and a new windshield to clarify the driver’s view of the road ahead, old Strawberry Creek Raceway didn’t stand a chance against Blackzilla and I last week. A time of 1:04.599 was the best time attack lap of the day according to TrackAddictii amidst a session filled with laps in the low 1:05s.iii

Let’s look at some of the data from the new PB and (in a separate tab) compare it with 2018’s PBiv :

SCR Nissan GTR - 104599 - July 2019 - 1

SCR Nissan GTR - 104599 - July 2019 - 2

In addition to 8 kph more at the end of the long straight heading into Turn 24.5 kph more leading into Turn 3, and 5.7 kph more in Turn 8, the G-forces I was able to pull with the PS4Ss were night and freaking day compared to all-season AS3s I tried to kill last season. Point-four more of a G in Turns 2 and 8 and a full half-G in Turn 7!!!1 It felt it too.v Especially in Turn 7, I felt like I could really dance with the big sumo-samurai and push it HARD into the corner, which not only increased confidence but obviously improved lap times as There was plenty of audible protestation from the new tires but the numbers don’t lie and that’s what ear plugs are for anyways. The newly improved dynamics and the consistency of said dynamics lap after lap really made me fall in love with Blackzilla all over again. For someone who’s always looking ahead to the next thing, even I had to wonder what I could possibly replace this ubermachine.vii

Speaking of which, such track performance would’ve been impressive enough for a thoroughbred racecar, but one that can drive an hour to the track under its own power,viii complete forty-five hard laps, drive another hour home in a torrential downpour without flying into a ditch, all on a single tank of gas, then arrive home, pick up the kids (Baby Ari and the newly-bespectacled Niko), and do our usual Friday night “splash & dine” run with joyous cracks and bangs for background music, is something altogether special. Keeping Dreidel off to the side for a minute, I really do have a two-car(-and-two-boy)-dream-garage right now. A little bit of rubber should keep it that way for years to come.

Blackzilla backseat boys - July 2019


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  1. Another third of the delta to “perfection” lopped off in another equally fell swoop! Given that semi-pro-driven Viper ACRs with muuuch more downforce have 1:01 and change as their best track attack lap times at SCR, I think that 1:02 is plenty ambitious for the non-Nismo Nissan GT-R. Hey, I thought there were supposed to me more diminishing returns in this sport too! Y’never know, if my right shoulder never 100% heals from this now-10-month-old tennis-induced injury, I might have to look for alternatives to badminton and golf. Racing cars might just be it ?
  2. TrackAddict was in conjunction with my new cell phone carrier, it should be added, and the precision of the GPS data with the new carrier is almost 3x better than before.
  3. My first session was in the 1:08s because 1) it was my first session in 9 months and 2) I was trying a more “committed” breaking strategy as per Ross Bentley in which I tried to really sorta hammer the left pedal at the last second rather than “feel” out the braking zone and slow the car down on a more “improv” basis. Perhaps I’d misunderstood Ross or perhaps this particular track layout (with no hairpins) doesn’t lend itself as well to that strategy, or perhaps I’m just too novice to implement it properly, but it didn’t work anywhere near as well as my more “typical” style of “feeling” and “dancing” the car into a corner under braking and working with the big mass to move through the corner less obviously planted and more elegantly flowingly.
  4. The weather on this early July day was 17C and overcast with a little bit of rain from the night before still drying on the track between Turns 9 and 10, but the dense, humid air was clearly keeping the turbos happy and the cooler temps kept the tires in a very sweet operating range.
  5. Speaking of feeling the Gs, my poor little pinner of a neck… Any suggestions for lightweight helmets are welcomed in the comments. I’m more than open to alternatives to my bog-standard HJC!
  6. Other contributors to the falling lap times were my overall efforts to shift less. By holding third gear though Turns 3 and 9 instead of jumping up into fourth and then quickly back into third 50m later, I saved not only the 0.1 seconds it takes to shift but also the time lost from an unbalanced car. The more time I spend in the GT-R at speed, the more I’m starting to mind-meld with it and the more I’m appreciating how much of a shock to the system gear shifts really are (this is much more obvious in a manual-transmission vehicle, to be sure, but it’s also more significant than I first appreciated in dual-clutch automatic vehicles). I’m now more attuned to the energetic jolt through the transmission that each gear change produces and I’m starting to understand the impact of these jolts on the overall balance of the vehicle. Sometimes they can be leveraged to initiate a vehicle rotation into a corner, but other times they can unsettle an otherwise poised corner entry.
  7. A 2020 GT-R Nismo with those unbelievably sexy carbon fibre GT3-style front fender vents would be a dream, but I think I’ll wait a few years until they’ve come off their CAD$250k-ish perch. Either that or the FF/GTC4Lusso…
  8. Yes, racecars that are towed to the track and back are a thing.

9 thoughts on “New rubber revelations with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.

  1. Vexual says:

    Consider a motocross helmet.

  2. Vexual says:

    Bro, delete the visor to shave more grams. So long as the big chin guard thingy does’t hit your side windows too much, it allows for better O2 intake, and for expletive laden squeals of delight/fear to escape without echoing quite so directly into ones ears.

    • Pete D. says:

      Every gram counts, which is why I like to skip 5-6 meals before racing and pop a few laxatives just to be sure I’m good and empty.

      The noggin is pretty straight forward during racing so a chin guard should be fine. I mean, have you seen Jay Leno’s car collection ? And he can’t even remove his “guard.”

    • Vexual says:

      I’ve never experienced those types of gforces driving a car, I can only imagine the intestinal havoc.

    • Pete D. says:

      If you can “hodl” through a few “bubbles” and “bursts” in the BTC market, you already have amongst the best intestinal fortitudes around. You’d probably make a great race car driver too.

    • Vexual says:

      When I order my Morgan 4/4, I’ll be sure to leave some coin for a carnet and airfreight.

    • Pete D. says:

      Mi tracka es su tracka.

  3. […] I a tire expert? Only enough to know that for cars of this performance caliber, it’s Pirelli, Michelin, Bridgestone, or Continental AND THAT’S FUCKING IT. […]

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