21 Jun 2021

The new Bridgestone Potenza Sport tyre is the result of a comprehensive development and testing process. High-performance tyres, such as the Potenza Sport, need to deliver very specific characteristics, including high stability at speed, excellent grip in wet and dry conditions, and short braking distances.


Physical testing is a critical part of the development phase, carried out by professional drivers based at Bridgestone EMIA’s Rome-based Proving Ground. Former Formula One driver Stefano Modena, now acting as Technical Marketing Manager, works to help fine-tune prototypes until the perfect result has been found.

For every Bridgestone tyre developed, several prototypes have been put through their paces on the testing track, driving them in a variety of conditions to ensure Bridgestone offers nothing but premium products to its customers. And none of this would be possible without the input of Bridgestone’s team of professional test drivers, supported by Stefano Modena.

Stefano modena

Bridgestone and Modena both have a history steeped in motorsports, and F1 in particular. Modena drove in 81 Formula One Grand Prix between 1987 and 1992, achieving two podiums and 17 championship points along the way. Bridgestone began supplying tyres to F1 teams in 1997 – a role that continued until 2010.

Such experience at motorsport’s pinnacle plays a huge part in the creation and development of tyres like Bridgestone Potenza Sport.

Modena built up a strong relationship with Bridgestone during the earlier years of his career, helping the company to develop go-kart tyres for the European market, before winning the European Formula 3 championship on Bridgestone tyres in 1987. Modena’s talent and feel for driving would eventually lead to a role as test driver at Bridgestone’s European Proving Ground in Italy.



Bridgestone’s European Proving Ground


After the initial virtual tyre development and testing period – which enables an efficient and environmentally sustainable process – comes a tyre’s physical testing.

The Potenza Sport was put through its paces at Bridgestone EMIA’s Proving Ground. With wet and dry handling circuits, an oval track and other advanced testing facilities, the Proving Ground is a hub for innovation, and the ideal location for Bridgestone’s test drivers – with the support of Modena – to help discover the optimum performance for a premium tyre like Potenza Sport.

See Bridgestone’s Stefano Modena discuss the Potenza Sport’s wet weather performance in 360 degrees

It’s a role that Modena is suited for, and his decades of knowledge and experience proved instrumental in the development of the Bridgestone Potenza Sport – a tyre created using input from over 3,800 sporty drivers. “My job is to understand what these sporty end users are looking for in a tyre – such as increased grip or stability with the Bridgestone Potenza Sport – and here we can put it to the test to ensure it meets the driver’s needs and expectations for a sports tyre,” Modena explains.

Testing at the Proving Ground is split into different categories, as can be seen in our 360-degree driving experience videos. You can watch Stefano Modena testing the Bridgestone Potenza Sport for low and high-speed stability, check the handling on corners including on the Proving Ground’s high-speed oval, along with dry braking and wet handling tests.

Travel alongside Modena in our 360 video

Testing includes high-speed direction changes, which, Modena adds, Bridgestone Potenza Sport expertly handles: “With the Potenza Sport there’s no wasted energy. Everything you do is translated; when you go around corners, or accelerate or brake on the straight, the car is with you.”


The differences between road and race track


“In motorsports, racing drivers are typically looking at one thing: going as fast as possible, and tyres can help to support them,” says Modena. “The end user of our road tyres is looking for something completely different. With tyres such as Bridgestone Potenza Sport, people want to feel confident and safe while driving in a sporty manner. On the road we need to consider many elements: weight, rolling resistance, water displacement, traction, braking.”

While we’ve seen huge leaps in innovation in tyre development, including Virtual Tyre Development technology, lightweight technologies such as ENLITEN Technology, and material improvements such as TECHSYN, it’s been a process of continuous improvement over the years that has cemented Bridgestone’s position as a world-leader when it comes to producing premium tyres such as the Potenza Sport.



1 Tests carried out by TÜV SÜD on the request of Bridgestone in July-September 2020 at the facilities Bridgestone EUPG (Italy) for dry and wet tests with Audi S4 3.0 TFSI, on tyre size 245/40 R18. Potenza Sport compared to the performances of main competitors in the same segment: Continental PremiumContact6, Michelin Pilot Sport 4, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5, Pirelli P Zero PZ4. Annex Report No. [713190691-PS].Straight stability, rating: Bridgestone Potenza Sport (9.33), Continental Premium Contact 6 (9.00), Michelin Pilot Sport 4(8.67), Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 (8.67), Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (8.56).Cornering stability, rating: Bridgestone Potenza Sport (9.21), Continental Premium Contact 6 (8.13), Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (8.67), Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 (8.33), Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (8.58).Dry braking distance (100 km/h to 0 km/h), metres : Bridgestone Potenza Sport (33.4), Continental Premium Contact 6 (35.4), Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (34.5), Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 (35.9), Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (34.8). Wet Cornering - Lateral wet grip (lateral acceleration) in meters/second2 : Bridgestone Potenza Sport (7.06), Continental Premium Contact 6 (6.42), Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (6.45), Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 (6.63), Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (7.03). Wet handling (subjective evaluation and average speed) average rating and in km/h: Bridgestone Potenza Sport (9.19; 90.87), Continental Premium Contact 6 (7.97; 87.32), Michelin Pilot Sport 4 (8.28; 87.84), Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 (8.25; 88.05), Pirelli P Zero PZ4 (8.72; 89.12).