Insider Look: Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R

For those who associate speed with tires, the phrase “Michelin Cup tire” holds immediate cachet and recognition.

Beginning with the original Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Michelin Cup tires have represented the leading edge of street legal performance tire technology for well over a decade. In the world of high performance driving where tire preferences and biases are strong, Michelin Cup tires are widely appreciated by driving enthusiasts of all persuasions.

With measurable dry and wet lap time improvements over the original Pilot Sport Cup, as well as improved treadlife, the latest generation Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 is without a doubt the best and most complete Cup tire yet. Its immense capabilities are reflected by the quality and diversity of OE fitments to date, which includes the Corvette Grand Sport, Ferrari 458 Speciale, BMW M4 GTS, Porsche 911 GT3, Porsche 918 Spyder, and various other street + track performance car superstars.

We’re in the age of rapidly advancing performance car limitations and vehicle manufacturers’ bragging rights though, and so Michelin was lobbied to make the Cup 2 tire even faster.

Enter the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R, the “semi-slick tire developed to beat track records.”

To engineer the Pilot Sport Cup 2 R, Michelin called upon their Motorsport department for the development of an enhanced, ultra-sticky performance tread compound. And indeed, indications are that the Cup 2 R borrows “go fast” tread compound characteristics directly from the tires that regularly win Le Mans.

Unlike the original Pilot Sport Cup 2, which is designed with dry and wet condition use as priorities, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 R is especially oriented toward dry track conditions. Michelin reports that in dry track conditions the R is worth about 0.5 second per kilometer on track.

To achieve the extra pace, the outer shoulder of the Cup 2 R is more contiguous and involves fewer tread blocks (more akin to a racing slick). This results in the outer tread blocks becoming “more rigid so that they can withstand the higher grip forces and improve driving precision.”

Additionally, the circumferential grooves are closer together and located toward the inside of the tire.


These two Cup 2 R tread design adjustments have resulted in a 10% greater contact patch as compared to the original Pilot Sport Cup 2.

So has the R achieved what it set out to achieve, which was to break track records?


Porsche is currently making the rounds with the Cup 2 R fitted to their monstrous 911 GT2 RS.

First up was Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta where the Porsche 911 GT2 RS ran a blistering 1:24.88 minute lap, a new production car lap record. (Previous record holder: Dodge Viper ACR, 1:26.54.)

Next to fall was Road America’s production car lap record in late April 2019. There the Porsche 911 GT2 RS achieved a lap time of 2:15.17 minutes.

More lap records will surely tumble. Check out the awesome lap footage from both tracks below.

Watch (out) for the Pilot Sport Cup 2 R as an OE tire on the 991.2 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, 911 GT2 RS, and Ferrari 488 Pista.

Want to discuss the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R as a potential tire option for your ride? Give us a call at 866-961-8668.

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