Next up was a dry autocross course and as we rounded the clubhouse I saw the cars: 6-speed Subaru WRX STis. This would be fun. The real twist here was the competition. In what I thought was a pretty ballsy move, Michelin pitted the A/S 3 against its competitor’s Max Performance Summer Y rated tires, not their all-season rubber. These included the Continental ExtremeContact DW, Pirelli P-Zero and Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position.
An autocross course can quickly expose a tire’s weaknesses. Each of the summer tires showed a distinct personality with different levels of communication, both in feel and sound. As expected, all the tires had good grip but the breakaway differed significantly between the brands. The DW, which is the tire I run on my own Audi, is fairly predictable, but the ultimate grip was a little bit behind that of the Potenza. The Michelin was the big eye-opener with overall grip and predictability as good or better than the others. And when the tire reached its limit, it was the easiest to get back. Surprisingly, with the A/S 3 I was able to carry the most speed through the course. Plus, the Michelin showed little sign of the abuse we were giving it with no visible chunking or wear. I was starting to become a believer. The margin was closer, but I gave this one to the PS A/S 3 as well.
ChaosweaveR- they are not Chinese but actually Finnish! From WikiPedia: "Nokian Tyres PLC (Finnish: Nokian Renkaat Oyj), headquartered in Nokia, Finland, produces tyres for cars, trucks, buses, and heavy-duty equipment. Known for its winter tyres, Nokian operates the only permanent winter tyre testing facility in the world. The company's Hakkapeliitta brand name is recognised in Finland as a reputable trademark." Like the entry says, they are well know for their winter "tyres". And being confused with off-brand tire names in the USA! *Wink Icon Here*Nokian? Never even heard of them. I swear, those Chinese tire companies keep changing names every three months or so.