Test Mule: Project G35, '06 Infiniti G35 Sports Coupe
Test driver: David Pratte, columnist and contributor for Modified
Test track: Streets and highways (winter), Toronto Motorsports Park (summer) Test condition: Varied, cold, wet and/or partially snow covered (winter); dry and warm, 71 degrees Fahrenheit at the track (summer)
Type: Ultra-high-performance all-season
UTQG: 420 AA A
• Carbon-fiber-reinforced inboard and outboard sidewalls designed to help keep the shoulders of the tire firmly planted on the road.
• Directional tread design with TredLock Technology or interlocking micro-grooves that lock tread blocks together during aggressive cornering for improved handling.
• A continuous center rib, large inboard and outboard shoulder blocks for dry road traction and steering precision, and dual intermediate all-season tread zones designed to direct rain, slush and snow away from the tread and resist hydroplaning.
• DuPont Kevlar-reinforced steel belts for greater carcass rigidity and strength.
We needed a winter or all-season tire for Project G35 because it sees occasional winter use that includes sub-zero temperatures and slick snow-covered roads. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric summer tires we've been punishing on and off the track for the last two summers have proven to be an outstanding performance tire in every respect, but a snow tire they ain't. That's why we ordered a set of Goodyear's ultra-high-performance all-season rubber, the new Eagle F1 All Season.
This is the first all-season tire to earn its way into the Eagle group that represents the highest performance rubber Goodyear makes, and for good reason. Having tested this all-season option during Goodyear's launch of the tire at Daytona International Speedway last year, we knew it was a fantastic wet and dry performer in a warm climate like Florida, but could it handle sub-zero temperatures and snow-covered roads like Project G35 is sometimes exposed to? To be honest, I was skeptical this tire could work well in cold and snowy conditions given the very high performance levels we saw at Daytona, but to my surprise the Eagle F1 A/S have performed admirably throughout the '08-09 Northeast winter season, even allowing me to drive down some country laneways that were covered in 3 to 4 inches of snow.
The Eagle F1 A/S has an extremely stiff sidewall, and although this is a plus for aggressive cornering on warm dry roads, in winter conditions and for general highway cruising it does result in some added ride quality harshness and road noise. But for those of you who want or need an all-season tire that'll provide surprisingly good grip in cold, wet and even snowy conditions while delivering ultra high performance in warm dry conditions, this could very well be the tire for you.
In fact, around Toronto Motorsports Park's 3km 11-turn road course, the narrower 245/40ZR18 Eagle F1 A/S tires posted a best lap time within 1.2 seconds of the wider 265/40ZR18 Eagle F1 Asymmetric UHP summer tires we normally run on the G35. Lateral g-forces were also surprisingly close, the All Season Eagle F1's achieving within 0.1g of the Asymmetric's in all but the fastest sweepers where the wider and stickier summer compound posted a 0.2 to 0.3 lateral g-force gap. Still, for an all-season tire with real-world capabilities that got us safely through a Northeast winter, the Eagle F1 A/S has very impressive summer capabilities as well, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a do-everything tire that's just at home at the racetrack as it is on a cold and damp backcountry road.