When Bridgestone launched the Adrenalin sub-brand of its Potenza performance tire line eight years ago, it was clear that the produce line was going to be one of its best selling models. That was the Potenza Adrenalin RE001, a model that was followed soon after by the improved RE002.
Now, Bridgestone has brought out its latest version, the Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003, and we flew to a test track in Australia just to see what this latest evolution can do.
During the product briefing, Bridgestone Japan’s executives gave us a primer of the many things they did to develop the RE003. The Adrenalin series of tires is a sub-category under the Bridgestone Potenza performance tire brand, of which Potenza Adrenalin represents the entry point into the category. Locally, the Potenza hierarchy consists of the Adrenalin (performance), the Potenza RE-11 (high-performance) and then by the Potenza S001 (ultra-high-performance). Out of curiosity, we asked Bridgestone’s executives what “RE” actually meant, to which they answered “Racing Equipment.”
When compared to the RE002, the new RE003 achieves improvements in straight line stability, dry cornering, center feel, wet handling (particularly water dispersal), wet braking and comfort, all while maintaining levels of fuel economy (through rolling resistance) and tire noise. These improvements were achieved by engineering a new wide center rib, a curved groove-wall enforcement, a new connection block, a revised silica-based compound and a pulse groove.
Bridgestone had closed out a facility in Norwell, Queensland, Australia known as “The Performance Driving Center.” The facility is actually a 2.1-kilometer test track for Holden (the Australian arm of General Motors), as well as a driver training ground. It even hosts a V8 Supercars driving experience, for a fee.
For the test, Bridgestone divided the track into several sections: The skidpad, was used for wet handling and stability; The turntable, used for skid recovery; The last few corners, used for a slalom; and the larger portion of the track was reserved for dry handling and quick lane changes. Organizers fitted their new tires to several examples of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk. 7 and the new generation Subaru WRX CVT.
On the dry, the RE003 was just impressive overall. The stability, the control and the higher limits afforded by the new rubber are excellent, given its price. On the high speed course, the Potenza Adrenalin RE003 exhibited how the new design affords the driver more confidence when pushing around the bends. Tire noise is still similar when compared to the RE002, but do keep in mind that these are performance tires, so noise will always be the drawback.
On the wet skidpad, the RE003 showed off its improved water dispersal qualities and resistance to aquaplaning, and this was compared to its predecessor, the RE002. The RE003 was also more predictable and more progressive when the car approaches the limits of its grip at speed. The slalom course displayed the new tire’s traceability and control, capabilities that were backed up by results and times from a datalogger.
Bridgestone had actually fitted some of the other cars with performance-oriented competitor tires from Brand G and Brand M. Mind you, the tires they chose are excellent ones and the difference was truly made clear.
We asked Bridgestone’s executives if the Potenza Adrenalin RE003 will be offered to manufacturers as an OE (original equipment) tire on performance cars like the VW Golf GTI, Subaru WRX, Toyota 86, among others, to which they answered, no. This means they will be convincing customers to switch to their tire on pure performance; a difficult task no doubt, but they seemed very confident that the RE003 can do it.
“This is a very strong weapon for us,” said Minoru Kazuki of Bridgestone.
After seeing and feeling what the new Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 can do, it’s easy to see why.