Off the top of your head, how many automotive tyre manufacturers do you think there are? Maybe 20 or 30, because that’s what we’re familiar with? The bold might go for more but most of you probably wouldn’t imagine the actual number is over 60 at any given moment. Hell, even that’s ridiculously conservative.
Why are there so many tyre manuctures worldwide? Well, apart from the nut behind the wheel (see what we did there?), tyres are probably the single most important piece of equipment on your vehicle.
They might seem simple but those four patches of rubber the size of your hand is the only thing that’s keeping your vehicle in contact with the ground. Lest we forget how important these black bands of rubber are, tyres were the sole determining factor enabling cars like the Koenigsegg Agera RS and Bugatti Chiron Super Sport to unleash their full top speed potential.
Tyres have long been a key component in gaining a performance advantage in the world of motorsports and spirited driving. The performance tyre segment is as huge as it is competitive and there’s a new player in town that’s already making waves and asserting its dominance; Valino Tyres.
You’d be forgiven if you’ve yet to hear of the brand because it’s only a couple of years old. Hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun, you’re further forgiven for letting out a snicker once you find out that Valino is a combo of “valiance” and “innovative.”
Granted, the Japanese have always had a peculiar way with the English language but boy, can they make a good piece of rubber.
What’s interesting about Valino is the niche it’s inserted itself into; performance tyres borne from drifting. The famed Team Orange drift team led by Naoto Suenaga in Japan, Andrew Gray (three-time Formula D Japan Series Champion), renowned D1GP drivers Naoki Nakamura, Tetsuya Hibino and Katsuhiro Ueo were all instrumental in Valino’s development during the prototype stages. Feedback from them allowed Valino engineers to further improve on the tyre.
Nonetheless, the focus here is on the non-drifting potential of these tyres in a performance environment. By addressing the abnormally high loads drifting places on a tyre and implementing measures to counter that in the design phase should translate into a tyre that’s equally adept at other genres of motorsports; which we’ll dive into in follow up articles.
There’s only two core tyre models and both are performance based developed with motorsports in mind.
Positioned as the entry-point into Valino, the Greeva is still very much a performance-oriented tyre but was engineered to endure the extreme loads of drifting with design cues aimed at reducing the peeling/delaminating and blistering effect whilst providing even wear and thicker tread depth for a longer-lasting tyre.
However, we’re going here to talk about Valino’s flagship; the Pergea. Once again, the name stems from taking a couple of English words and slapping them together; “perfect gear” in this case. And from first impressions, it might be about right.
From the tread pattern alone, there’s no denying the aggressive potential of the Pergea. It’s available in three different treadwear ratings but they’re all pretty aggressive. The Pergea 08R, 08RS and the 08SP check in at 200, 160 and 140 respectively. Generally, the lower rating means a softer compound more suited for grip but will also wear out a lot quicker.
The secret sauce though is in the compound and wider tread design. Both prioritise dissipating heat and water to keep the rubber in the sweet spot longer. To counter the increased wear rate of the softer compound, the tread depth was made thicker (12/32th vs. 8/32th, inches). Furthermore, the sidewalls were stiffened up to keep the contact patch flat during hard driving.
There’s a lot more we could delve into with Valino as it isn’t often you come across a brand of tyres with a firm focus on motorsports. For such a fledgling brand, its motorsports pedigree has already been cemented with wins in D1GP and other international drifting series. Next up on their to-do list is the 2019 World Time Attack Championship in Sydney.
Having conquered that, Valino’s now trained its crosshair on other motorsport breeds and the next follow up piece will see us lace up in some Valino gear courtesy of Woohoo Racing; the local distributor, and take a drive because the proof is in the pudding.
If you're curious on pricing, the full list is below and includes free shipping for the time being if you order from the online store.