Pirelli’s Scorpion All Terrain Is the First Standard Off-Road Tire on a Porsche 911
Pirelli was the tire of choice for the extraordinary Porsche 911 Dakar. Working together with Porsche, Pirelli designed a unique tire designed to make the 911 go off-road.
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It’s the year of the lifted sports car. With the craze of “safari” Porsche 911s starting a few years ago in the aftermarket, two new lifted, off-road ready sports cars are coming from Lamborghini and Porsche. Unique cars have unique requirements, and Pirelli stepped up to make some spec tires for the 2023 Porsche 911 Dakar.
The Pirelli Scorpion All Terrain Plus tires that live on the 911 Dakar’s Fuchs-style wheels are Porsche spec tires, unlike Pirelli's standard Scorpion All Terrain. Both companies were acutely aware of the limitations of true off-road tires and the limitations of the 911 when it goes off-road. The tires on the Dakar are essentially designed and engineered specifically for the Dakar, meaning that it's optimized for the car’s weight distribution, size, use case, and overall weight.
Porsche built the Dakar to go off-road, but the big compromise here is road manners. After all, the 911 is still a sports car, and it will mostly be a road-going 911. For this, Pirelli took the Scorpion All Terrain and developed a tire off that platform a specific tread pattern and construction so that it can also handle well on the road. Pirelli also claims track performance, but that is not the tire’s primary purpose.
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Putting all-terrain tires on a sports car usually isn’t a great idea. The construction, weight, and load ratings are usually all wrong. The car can go off-road, but the on-road manners suffer because of it. Thus we’re entering the world of spec tires, which are special tires made for a specific automaker. It’s something of an unknown in the business, but most of your favorite performance cars run a spec tire rather than a retail one.
This Pirelli tire might be one of the most versatile tires ever made, but we won’t know until we get our hands on the Dakar. That said, the uniqueness of the engineering challenge and the car makes this an interesting study for the future of light, sporty off-roaders.