Driving in the rain is always fun. Add a wet track, gravel and luxury cars and SUVs to the mix, and now we're talking! This is exactly how we spent our Sunday as we experienced Vredestein's Ultrac Vorti and Pinza all-terrain (AT) tyres at the Raymond race track.
Ultrac Vorti tyres a brand for luxury sedans
Pinza AT tyres are made for SUVs
Experiencing Pinza AT tyres on an SUV
To experience the Pinza AT tyres, a small portion of the track was marked off, and there were two different challenges – small and large articulation humps, and a small and large (35-degree) side incline. There was a Toyota Fortuner, a Hilux and a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and I chose the Jeep.
The smaller challenges were easy, but the large incline being a cakewalk is what surprised me. And while the car itself is quite capable, we have to credit the tyres too – with no wheelspin and no loss of traction in the wet, it proved to be fuss-free. However, a racetrack isn't the place to test these AT tyres, and we've put the Pinzas through its paces at the Learn Offroad Academy in Khopoli run by Tejas Kothari. You can read more about that here.
Experiencing Ultrac Vorti on a luxury sedan
We then moved on to the fun bit – autocross. Vredestein claims that the Ultrac Vorti – its tyre range that caters to luxury sedans – has a superior wet grip. With constant showers, the track perpetually being wet and a smattering of gravel all around, this was the tyre I was more excited to experience.
There were four cars to choose from – a Mercedes-AMG CLA45, Volvo XC40, Audi A4 and a Mercedes-Benz E-Class – and after a demo lap on the A4, I had a go in it. The circuit started with a slalom challenge, followed by tight turns and U-turns. The slalom was done in seconds, and this was followed by a sharp right-hand curve that had a large puddle of water, then a right-handed U-turn, and a small straight where you floor the accelerator. To make things tougher, a left-handed U-turn had water and gravel as soon as you turned – exactly where you’d straighten the steering and throttle out. The Ultrac Vorti tyres, however, were unfazed by the happenings on the track and completed the course like it was nothing.
To spice things up a bit, the organisers also arranged for a fun competition between us journalists – finish one lap of the track in under 30 seconds. I picked the A4 (Quattro in such conditions any day), and the tricky part, again, was the aforementioned left-handed U-turn. The Ultrac Vorti provided enough grip, but the turn did catch people out as the tyres squealed and fought for traction. More importantly, you lose precious time. I managed to feather the throttle and get out unscathed, and completed the challenge in 28 seconds – 30 milliseconds ahead of the next competitor.
While I walked away gloating that I had the fastest time, I am sure the tyres had a big role to play in it.