PH FLEET UPDATE: SEAT CUPRA R
RacingPete gets tired of winter tyres
thanks to a trip to Switzerland earlier in the year the Seat Cupra R was fitted with winter tyres to comply with the road laws, and they have stayed connected to each corner ever since.
Many people spend fortunes trying to save weight, or add a few horses to the powertrain, but for me the biggest improvement is what rubber you choose. So I was a little worried that the change of tyres would ruin the handling of the hatch, and leave it a little less hot.
The winter tyres don't hinder this brilliant chassis, and the negative feedback from the cold-weather rubber is nothing more than the odd protest squeal. The grip through a long corner is still excellent, and the feel through the steering wheel isn't woolly at all. No doubt if you put the car on track the winter rubber would melt into its spacious grooves, but for road use it works very well and I wouldn't have a problem to keep running the winter tyres through summer - minus the wear rate - if I had to choose one tyre all year.
The traction light blinks furiously, but regardless of the setting you select for it you can still spin happily for a good few seconds before the electronics have had enough of your boyish play. Acceleration is the one weak point in the winter tyres' armour as everyday rubber. Trying to get out of a junction at speed you have to modulate the right foot to make sure dash lights aren't flashing away.