Aeolus launched on April 12 its new-generation AU04 high-performance tire at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.
The company said the AU04 is an extreme-performance summer tire developed for sports cars, sports coupes and performance sedans that offers superior traction, steering and braking for nearly half the price of the world’s top tire brands. It also said the AU04 is part of the ACE2 series, which was released in 2015 to succeed the ACE series of passenger-car tires.
Aeolus said the AU04 was engineered with a technologically advanced silica compound that improves handling, braking and tread-wear performance. The company said four longitudinal grooves with two, linked, V-shaped shoulder blocks provide excellent water evacuation to avoid aquaplaning, while a continuous, solid, central rib transfers lateral forces to help provide excellent stability at highway speeds. The company also said the radials have a large shoulder-block design that provides long mileage and improves steering stability.
Tested to the limits
To prove its point, Aeolus pitted the new AU04 – globally classified as Tier 3 tires – against two Tier 1 tires on the track. The company tested all three brands on Clark’s drag strip, where it put up an autocross slalom course to assess their handling, while the rest of the tarmac was used for the 100 kilometer per hour braking test to see how well the tires would do in an emergency stop at expressway speeds. Each test had two runs for every tire in both dry and wet road surfaces to not only see how well these would perform in those conditions, but also to see how well the Aeolus AU04 compares with the competition.
The company borrowed a pair of identical Ford Fiesta EcoBoost hatchbacks fitted with 17-inch wheels for the test, with the orange Fiesta carrying the other brands (Brand A and B) and the green Fiesta carrying the Aeolus AU04 (Brand C). Driving the cars was one of the country’s top race car drivers who asked to remain anonymous.
First, the tires were tested in the dry, starting with the autocross course. From the start-finish line, the test driver had to go through the slalom, followed by circling a mini-roundabout twice, then going through the slalom again in the opposite direction before sprinting off to the finish.
To set the benchmark, the test driver started with the Fiesta fitted with Brand A tires, setting a best time of 38 seconds. This was followed by a 37-second best time from Brand B. The Aeolus-fitted Fiesta turned out to be the fastest, finishing the course with a 36-second best time.
After the Autocross course, the test driver moved to the brake test. Upon reaching 100 kph, he had to use full brakes upon passing the marker, which is also the start-stop line for the autocross course. The distance from the brake marker to the point where the car came to a complete stop would then be measured. Following the same testing order, Brand A got a best distance of 41.61 meters, Brand B stopped at 47.77 meters, while the Aeolus AU04 stopped the car in 40 meters flat.
Up against intermediates
The company then gave three of the dealers present at the event the chance to try out the tires’ performance on the course with Astig in the passenger seat. After the dealers finished their slalom runs, Fast Times got behind the wheel of both the Brand B Fiesta and the Aeolus Fiesta.
Fast Times got best times of 40 seconds with the Brand B car and 42 seconds with the Aeolus car. Fast Times was also the only attendee that did the brake test, where the Brand B car – which performed the worst in this test – stopped in a best distance of 32 meters, while the Aeolus car stopped in 33.4 meters.
Southgate Express Marketing General Manager and Chief Executive OIfficer Gerard Tan, whose company exclusively distributes Aeolus in the Philippines, told Fast Times in an interview that the discrepancy is a result of the Brands A and B tires being intermediate tires. He also said the company currently doesn’t have an intermediate model.
“The AU04 is primarily designed for street use, so there are cases when it may not do as well as more track-oriented tires,” he said. “In addition, Brands A and B did not have street tires as big as the AU04, so we had to use the intermediates.”
Impressive wet-weather performance
After this, a fire truck doused the drag strip to see how well the tires would work in wet conditions, where reduced traction as a result of less contact with the tarmac lead to longer braking distances and worse handling. In the autocross course, Tire A finished with a best time of 40 seconds, Tire B finished with a best time of 38 seconds, with the Aeolus car also getting 38 seconds.
In the braking test, the Aeolus AU04 performed considerably better than its competitors. Tire A stopped with a best distance of 47.36 meters, Tire B took 55.46 meters and the Aeolus car stopped in 44.37 meters.