Warm weather is finally here at Tire Rack headquarters in sunny South Bend, Indiana. That means it is time to test some tires. We test tires both on a carefully selected road loop and under the controlled conditions of our test track.
This year, our test track will be changing. In addition to being resurfaced, the track has been expanded, and we are running a slightly different configuration. The slalom is longer, which allows more opportunity to evaluate handling in quick transitions, similar to emergency lane change maneuvers that a driver might have to make on the road. A 180-degree hairpin adds a new and demanding challenge, and the overall larger configuration allows higher speeds. The new track should help increase the accuracy of our evaluations.
The new surface was in use for this year's One Lap of America competition, and we have completed our own orientation drive of the new layout.
We already have a couple of exciting tests scheduled this year involving Ultra High Performance All-Season and Max Performance Summer tires. While not completed as of this writing, results will be available on our Tire Research page.
One thing to bear in mind is that lap times on the new track will not be directly comparable to the times posted on the old track. So while it is still worthwhile to compare the evaluations from previous tests, please do keep in mind that the lap times will vary slightly based on the configuration.