We’re proponents of the theory that the same characteristics that make high-performance cars fun in fair weather actually help make them safer in wintry conditions. The trouble is most tire manufacturers can’t make a case for catering to the small group of exotic car owners brave enough to use their six-figure rides year-round.
British manufacturer McLaren has solved that problem for owners of its cars with a bespoke winter tire it developed with Italian tiremaker Pirelli. The tire is a version of the Sottozero 3 designed and branded for McLaren’s Sports Series cars, the 540C, 570S, and 570GT.
Pirelli makes the not-insignificant claim the tire offers the kind of winter grip that can harness the 570GT’s 562 hp, or the 540C’s ability to scoot from zero to more than 200 km/h in 10.5 seconds. For its part, McLaren said the bespoke Sottozero 3 will help cut stopping distances by 10 percent on wet roads and as much as 20 percent in the snow compared to summer tires.
The company credits those performance enhancements to a tread pattern that offers high drainage and a rubber compound optimized for temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, the point at which rubber experts recommend switching to a dedicated winter tire.
McLaren also gave some consideration to aesthetic concerns, and will fit those winters on forged alloy wheels that include tire pressure monitoring sensors and are coated in a “stealth” finish to protect them from road salt and other winter driving vagaries without compromising their looks.
And you don’t have to go directly to McLaren to get those wheels, either: the company says they can be ordered from any retailer that sells the bespoke Sottozero 3s and can be bolted onto the car in minutes, just like any wheel made for the car.