Ex-F1 racer lapping it up with extensive testing to hone all-new Nissan Micra’s dynamic drive
- Credit: Nissan
Nissan's all-new Micra draws on motorsport expertise and experience to hone its agile, driving dynamics with extensive tyre testing with Bridgestone.
Stefano Modena competed in more than 80 Formula One Grands Prix, and in 1989 famously stood on the Monaco podium with legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. So what does a man who is comfortable at 300km/h drive after he has finished racing? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is the all-new Nissan Micra.
The new supermini's agile handling and secure driving feel is due in part to its Bridgestone tyres, which have been developed with the help of the ex-F1 racer.
The Italian driver retired from racing in 2000 and joined Bridgestone as a full-time product development driver three years later. He is part of the tyre-testing team which worked with Nissan to achieve the performance required from the new Micra.
Together they set about finding the optimum combination of grip, braking performance, weight, fuel economy and handling.
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Stefano said: 'Nissan has been very demanding of Bridgestone for this new Micra, which is a great thing because it means it had very clear goals for the dynamic performance of the car. We really worked very hard to fulfil its requirements, and I believe we have.'
He competed in F1 from 1987-92, driving for the highly respected Brabham, Tyrell and Jordan teams. As well as his third place at Monaco, the highlight of Stefano's career was a second place finish in the 1991 Canadian Grand Prix behind Nelson Piquet. A successful stint in various European touring car championships followed.
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'I first drove the new Micra more than a year ago and I was very surprised because it reminded me of a go-kart – very precise steering, very stable. That was only a prototype, now it's even better. It's a very agile car that gives the driver great confidence.'
Working in conjunction with the team from Nissan's Technical Centre Europe in the UK and Spain, and the engineers from Bridgestone's Technical Centre Europe, thousands of kilometres of testing were done at Bridgestone's European Proving Ground near Aprilia in Italy.
The result is a compact hatchback which is positioned right at the core of the B-segment. The all-new Micra is designed to be agile and exciting to drive, with a quiet and responsive engines providing a balance of comfort and performance for the driver.
The efforts of Stefano, Bridgestone and the Nissan development teams have already been recognised, as the Nissan Micra is a shortlisted finalist for European Car of the Year 2017.
The Micra is available with 16in and 17in wheels, both of which are included in the car's extensive personalisation program. This allows customers to select from a wide range of optional extras for the exterior and interior of the Micra.
Kazuyuki Yamaguchi, chief vehicle engineer for the new Micra, said: 'Having someone like Stefano Modena involved has been fantastic, helping us to deliver an exciting and confident drive on the new Micra. His knowledge, experience and feedback has been invaluable in creating a car that sets new standards for B-segment hatchbacks.'
The new Micra is available to order now.