Well rounded
A meeting with Michael Haupt, head of strategic
tyre development at Porsche.
Tyres are often an underestimated component in vehicle
design: they represent the only contact with the road,
have considerable influence on the safety and stability
of the vehicle and determine the driving experience to a
significant extent. Just as complex are the requirements
in relation to tyre development – especially in the sports
car sector. The HF MIXING TOGETHER editorial team
wanted to know more details and set off to meet a
representative from the sports car manufacturer par
We have an appointment with Michael Haupt, head of
strategic tyre development at Porsche. When the name
Porsche is mentioned, you generally think of Zuffen-
hausen. Haupt and his team, however, are based in the
development centre in nearby Weissach, whose size
impresses us as soon as we arrive: there are a number
of multi-storey buildings, an in-house test track and
several large parking spaces on this patch of green land.
Michael Haupt has been working at Porsche for 17
years and is currently responsible for strategic tyre de-
velopment. When he first came to Porsche, it was a
completely different company: ‘There was only the 911
back then; the Boxster was still in the development
stage.’ Tyre development was also less complex. ‘We now
develop tyres for all models: the 911, Boxster, Cayenne,
Panamera, Macan – which has recently been unveiled
to the general public – and occasionally for the GT
vehicles 911 GT3 and 911 GT2, as well as for the plug-
in hybrid 918 Spyder high-performance sports car. For
the latter, we work in collaboration with the sports car
division. Only the slick tyres for racing sport vehicles
are developed by the motor sport division.’
A development time of 48 to 60 months
for one tyre
What specific form does tyre development take at
Porsche? ‘On new models, we develop the tyres from
the vehicle’s concept phase until it is ready to go into
production. Since the wheels and tyres significantly
define the look and design of a car, they are always
looked at right at the beginning of the vehicle’s devel-
opment. Due to the fact that we do not produce any
tyres ourselves, or engineer them in detail, we tell the
tyre manufacturer how the tyres should be composed
so that it is specially tailored to the vehicles. To this end,
we get together with all the major tyre manufacturers at
a very early stage and consult with each other using all
the basic data. At this stage, the CAD program has
already created the so-called package models, which
show how the vehicle will look. We know the weight,
top speed and axle data – all essential parameters for
designing tyres and defining the air pressure. As such,
the tyre is initially evaluated virtually without any actual
tests taking place. Once the package has been ap-
proved, the overall design of the vehicle is fixed. We
then draw up the specification documents with all the
criteria. This may include aspects such as reduced
rolling resistance and faster lap times.’ It takes between
and 60 months to develop one tyre – depending on
whether it is a model facelift or a completely new develop-
ment. The core development, actually testing the vehicle,
takes two years.
| MIXING know-how
Michael Haupt, head of strategic tyre development at Porsche.
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