Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta

Tyre Specifications
Tyre Size: 
225/40 YR 18
Wet Rating: 
8
Dry Rating: 
9
Comfort Rating: 
6
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION:

This tyre is designed by Giugiaro. It is a pretty unusual tie-up but it has been found that buyers are influenced by the styling of the tread pattern and sidewall.The Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta is from the Netherlands and while widely known in Europe, is largely unknown here. The tread pattern is radical to say the least being basically of two tread blocks a small inner one and a large outer one separated by just a single continuous drainage groove. The large block if you examine it carefully is actually a continuously connected tread but heavily grooved in a diagonal pattern. The outermost part of the tread is less grooved so as to support heavier loads during cornering. The sidewalls are very stiff as is the tread belting.

DRY PERFORMANCE:

Scrub-in period: After about 200 km of scrubbing-in, the tyres took on a very sharp and meaty feel at the steering.
Steering: The build-up of cornering forces is more progressive than most requiring a bit more steering angle as g-forces build. They typically seem to drift to the very high limit and this seems to be an advantage over meandering roads allowing a sense of flow or progression. [9/10]
Lateral Grip: The manufacturer recommends an unusually high pressure of 40-41 psi and we tried this. At 41 psi the steering lightened but sharpened up a bit and the tyre squeal became a lot more muted. As per their recommendation the tests were carried out at this pressure and we carried out tests at 35 and 32 psi as well. For outright performance 41 psi certainly delivered the goods. While it may not have reset the bar in terms of sheer dry performance, the Sessantas could be driven much harder than most. [8/10]
Handling: Perhaps there is a slight tendency to understeer more but this added push gives a lot more confidence over unknown roads and because the tyres signal their intention early on, it is much easier to read and push hard. [9/10]
Longitudinal Grip: Braking bite seemed less than aggressive but could always be relied on to stop fast. This sensation could be due to the heavily channelled center tread pattern which might be good for wet weather but does nothing for dry grip. Rolling resistance also benefited from the recommended high tyre pressures and at 41 psi they were above average and at 32 psi were below average which explains if rolling resistance tests are carried out at a fixed tyre pressure these tyres would compare unfavourably. Typically we test at the pressures that we “can” live with and that means higher than most and this delivers better performance at a comfort level we find acceptable. [8/10]

WET PERFORMANCE:

Steering: The tread compound also manages to cling on well to wet tarmac and the steering still feels well connected to the road not feeling greasy at all. This inspires confidence as does the absence of any breakaway characteristic during hard cornering,[8/10]
Lateral Grip: Measurements do not do the Sessanta's justice as it feels far grippier than the measurements. These tyres seem to cling on tenaciously and remain in mild understeer right up to the limit.[8/10]
Handling: The progressive way the tyres reach its limits also helps with the impression that this is a wet weather champ as it tackles wet roads with considerable poise. It can be coaxed to dance delicately on the edge of neutrality with ease. There is no sign of breakaway which inspires confidence. [9/10]
Longitudinal Grip: Braking is quite impressive and produces excellent stops and so conversely will resist wheelspin equally well. The wide diagonal channels in the tread pattern resembles one half of a V-grooved rain tyre. Not surprisingly the Ultrac Sessanta slices through standing water with near impunity maintaining a high degree of aquaplaning resistance perhaps amongst the very best there are today in this aspect. [8/10]

COMFORT & NOISE:

Comfort: While the recommended tyre pressure at 41 psi does it no favours in the comfort department the odd thing is dropping from 41 psi to 32 psi the ride comfort did not improve that much. Which is to say there is no advantage to lower tyre pressures to gain some comfort. In fact performance and rolling resistance are penalized significantly by lowering tyre pressures. At 41psi the tyres felt as sharp and as unyielding as the OEM RE070s the test car came with.
Noise: 68.5 dBA at 70 km/h coast-down. Surprisingly noise levels are almost on par for this group.

MEASURED PERFORMANCE
Dry Cornering: 0.98g
Dry Braking 80-20 km/h: 1.77 sec in 25m
Average g: 0.96g
Peak g: 1.02
Wet Cornering: 0.83g
Wet Braking 80-20 km/h: 2.20 sec 30 m
Average g: 0.77g
Peak g: 0.83g
Rolling Resistance: 0.0248g @ 41 psi (0.0255g @ 32 psi) average
Weight: 11.0 kg

CONCLUSION:

This relatively unknown tyre from Netherlands has put on a mighty impressive showing. Its biggest draw is its confidence inspiring steering feel, offering a solid connection from the steering to the road. Its slightly understeering handling suits open winding roads far better than the track. Over meandering roads it is clear in its behaviour and intentions holding no surprise for the driver making it a favourite for fast road use. This is also carried over to wet conditions with the same confident delivery. Its dry and wet performance help mitigate the firm ride and since does not become more comfortable with lower pressures the Ultrac Sessanta should be used between 35 to 40 psi to deliver max performance and to keep rolling resistance at bay. Its behaviour is so benign that it can be safely recommended to novices as well. Highly Recommended. Level A+

Test Tyres courtesy of Stage4 Motion Pte Ltd

 

Photos: 
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