We head to Killarney racetrack to sample Dunlop’s latest high-performance tyres, the SP Sport Maxx 060+…

In front, Killarney racetrack’s straight stretches out before a duo of Toyota GR Yarises, parked next to each other, ready for a drag race. Left foot on the clutch; the right depresses the throttle to the floor. The revs build. The hot hatches’ muscular rear wheel arches squat down over Dunlop’s SP Sport Maxx 060+ tyres, here measuring 18 inches (it can be had in 16- to 18-inch sizes). The firm’s latest high-performance rubber grips to the warm tarmac as the clutch is released, and the Japanese firm’s all-wheel-drive hot hatch sprints off the line. 

Sport Maxx 060+

In drag-race application, the new SP Sport Maxx tyres fared remarkably well in dry conditions. However, the company mentioned they would have wanted some drizzle on the road to showcase the 060+ rubber’s performance in the wet, assuring us it provides high grip levels in any weather, thanks to the tyres’ asymmetric tread pattern. At the same time, thanks to the new tyres’ tread compound, the 060+ has a longer lifespan (Dunlop claims a 40 per cent increase in mileage). 

Continuing with the grip levels, the SP Sport Maxx 060+ further provides exceptional high-speed stability. To test this, we hopped into the facelifted (sixth-generation) Volkswagen Polo GTI and its bigger brother, the new Golf GTI. The test comprised travelling at (considered yet quick) speed, followed by a sharp right and then a left turn to avoid hitting the cones. 

Sport Maxx 060+

Sited behind the steering wheel of the Polo GTI, we set off, soon reaching a speed above the 60 km/h marker. With a quick, light press of the brake pedal, lock the tiller to the right and then to the left. Again, the rubber provided ample grip, and the front-wheel-drive compact hot hatch was safely steered back in a straight line. The Sport Maxx 060+ impressed. Although testing the grip levels in a drag race showcases the tyres’ prowess and provides the driver with ample thrills, the stability they provide is essential as it allows the driver to safely remain on the road when swerving to avoid an accident becomes unavoidable. Another important factor is, of course, how the tyres fare under braking. 

A car’s braking ability from a high speed to a standstill is often overshadowed by its 0-100 km/h sprint time. However, this is, with stability performance, undoubtedly of utmost importance. Parked on Killarnery’s back straight, cones lined up, the Super Maxx 060+’s grip was again showcased, this time under hard braking, from 100 km/h to zero and, then, from 160 km/h to a standstill. We had the opportunity to test this from an 80 km/h speed. Back in the GR Yaris, we set off on the back straight. The hot hatch’s brakes bit hard, which, with the rubber, brought it quickly to a halt. Again, the Sport Maxx 060+ impressed. 

The Sport Maxx 060+ was developed to bridge everyday usability with racing prowess. Many automakers test their cars (usually performance-orientated models) on racetracks or at similar facilities. Although most customers are unlikely to drive their vehicle in such a manner, if the car performs well under peak testing, it should undoubtedly perform well on the road. Doing the same with a new tyre makes sense. Indeed, Dunlop says the racetrack is the ultimate laboratory. So, if the Sport Maxx 060+ fares well under stringent testing, it should perform well in everyday applications. 

So, how did the locally-made rubber perform when tested on a track? In short, remarkably well. 

For more information, visit Dunlop’s website here.