Automobile handling can be greatly improved by reducing the phase lag of tire cornering force behind imposed distortion. We have shown experimentally that this lag is related to in‐plane stiffness of the belt and to radial, lateral, and circumferential stiffnesses of the sidewall. While the cornering stiffness is related to the belt rigidity, either can be changed without affecting the sidewall stiffnesses. The cornering stiffness, for example, is sensitive to design factors such as tread compound and tread pattern. The radial, lateral, and circumferential sidewall stiffnesses, however, are mutually perpendicular at a given point in a tire, so they cannot be changed independently of each other. In order to reduce the phase lag of the cornering force, the lateral and circumferential stiffnesses must be increased with a minimum increase in radial stiffness. This can be done by either lowering the radial location of the maximum section width of the inflated tire or by proper changes in material and/or design elements of the sidewall.

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