Even when I walked into the massive Metzeler tyre factory I still had no idea how the tyres I use are made, but I had the right man showing me around. I could ask Oliver anything and he had the answer.
I knew all the parts of a tyre: the bead, carcass, tread, steel belt, but not how all these ingredients are stuck together.
I was shown the whole process of making a Racetec RR, starting from the steel beads being covered in rubber.
Then I worked the machine that bonded them to the carcass. That was handed to four robots who rolled a continuous steel belt around the carcass, then added the different compounds, in a process that looked like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube. This is all brand new technology and I could have watched those robots all day. This way of making the tyre is much more consistent and right at the cutting edge.
Next I saw the curing process where the tread is pressed into the tyre while it is heated at a very specific temperature for a specific time, depending on the tyre and what it’s going to be used for. Some of the tyres being made were the Racetec RR Guy Martin edition. After curing I took a couple of sets to get laser-etched with my skull and spanners logo in the edge of the tyre.