Latest release goes 'green route'

I'VE been on plenty of car launches, but a tyre launch - now that's a first!

I'VE been on plenty of car launches, but a tyre launch - now that's a first!

"I could stand here for days talking about the new Cinturato P7 tyre," said Pirelli South Africa product manager.

Thankfully he didn't, but he did get across the importance of having quality tyres on your vehicle.

That was before a group of motoring journalists hit the open road to the Lowveld in a couple of X1's, courtesy of BMW, in what was dubbed the Pirelli Green Performance Challenge.

If you've seen The Amazing Race on television, that's basically what we got up to over two days covering more than 1000km of the picturesque Mpumalanga region as we hopped-skipped-jumped-and-crawled our way to our final destination in the Blyde River Canyon.

Before getting there, though, we visited Witbank, the Pig & Pickle Pub in Belfast, partook in a clay-pigeon shooting contest just outside Dullstroom and then explored the Echo Caves in Ohrigstad before taking in the stunning views from God's Window.

Getting from one destination to the next was where the fun lay since we had to unscramble cryptic clues - supplied by the organisers - as to where next to drive.

But back to the tyre itself!

For anyone who is remotely interested in cars, Pirelli should need no introduction.

Locally they are the preferred supplier for various vehicles, from Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW to Volvo.

Formula 1 circles were abuzz last week with the news that they would be the sole supplier of tyres for next year's F1 race season.

To get the nod from the bigwigs at F1 speaks volumes for the quality tyres that Pirelli produces.

And like many components that go into making a vehicle today, tyres are also following the "green route".

Thanks to the design of the new tyre, Pirelli claims the Cinturato P7 offers noise reduction, shorter stopping distances (in both wet and dry conditions), an increase in tyre life from 5000km to 65000km and a significant decrease in noxious emissions due to innovative compounds, structures and tread design.

I must admit that over the two-day period the tyres were exposed to some pretty gruelling conditions to prove a point.

From gravel roads with potholes the size of a jacuzzi to kilometre after kilometre of highway driving, there wasn't a single problem of any kind with the convoy of eight vehicles.