The Continental ContiForceContact Now Available in United States

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

This year, we've added another Streetable Track & Competition tire to our line-up and are pleased to introduce the Continental ContiForceContact. Designed to compete with popular tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Toyo Proxes R888, the ContiForceContact (80 treadwear) has a compound that's soft enough to be competitive in a track environment, yet suitable for light street use.

Unlike extremely soft race-only applications, such as the Hoosier R6, the ContiForceContact is less likely to pick up road debris and comes up to temperature slightly slower, allowing it to be driven to and from the track. The tire's tread void areas also allow it to be used in the wet. However, while designed to resist hydroplaning, ContiForceContact tires are not recommended for high-speed driving on extremely wet roads with standing water where there is the risk of hydroplaning. This is especially true of shaved or worn tires. Drivers should drive cautiously at reduced speeds in these conditions.

We had an opportunity to test the tire back in March and determined the tire delivers an impressive blend of dry track performance and wet traction. It can also thrill drivers during hot laps with its precise handling and confidence-inspiring demeanor. For a complete recap of our test, read "Continental ContiForceContact: Track Day Magic."

How to Choose the Correct Track Tires

Thursday, June 5, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Are you heading to your first driving school or lapping day? Or are you already a track veteran who's looking to go even faster? Whenever you go to the track, having the right set of tires is essential to going fast, being safe and having fun.

What type of tires do you need to bring for a track event? Depends on the type of event, the expected conditions and the resources available to you.

Take a look at your available options:

Street Tires 

Some people run their cars on the track with the same tires they use on the street. If you're already driving high performance tires, that set may work for you on the track. This scenario works best when you're attending beginner driving schools, casual lapping days or other events where the focus is more on polishing your skills rather than setting fast lap times. Street tires are not recommended for track use, and driving them in a track environment will most likely void their warranty. Keep in mind that if you overdrive them into corners, you could easily render them useless after only one day at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Pros of Running Street Tires:

  • Convenience
  • Price
  • Can drive to the track safely.
  • Most street tires perform well in the rain.

Cons of Running Street Tires:

  • Performance - These tires aren't as fast in dry conditions as track tires.
  • Longevity
  • Getting home - What happens if you lose a tire on the track? Do you have an option for getting home?

Extreme Performance Tires

These options are really a subset of street tires, but they're designed to take the abuse of occasional track days. They have more focus on dry traction and responsive handling. Extreme performance tires can be used on an enthusiast oriented daily driver, or mounted on separate wheels for track use. An example of this tire is the Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R.

Pros of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Grip - Better performance than regular street tires.
  • Durability
  • Value - Last longer at the track than normal street tires.
  • Convenience
  • Versatility

Cons of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Competition - Drivers are at a disadvantage compared to drivers who use dedicated track tires.

Streetable Track Tires 

There are some tires that are essentially track tires, but can be driven to and from the track. They would wear out very quickly if driven daily on the street. These tires will generally have enough tread pattern to handle damp pavement, but will be very prone to hydroplaning. An example of this type of tire is the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo.

Pros of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Grip - These tires will outgrip extreme performance tires.
  • Convenient - If you can swap wheels at home, but your car won't carry a second set of wheels to the track, this can be the perfect solution.
  • Versatility - Some of these tires can work as an intermediate tire for damp or drying track conditions.

Cons of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Give up a little grip compared to the most specialized options.
  • Few miles of use as a street tire.
  • Hydroplaning can be an issue if caught in the rain.

Specialized Track Tires

Track tires provide the ultimate in grip. They discard most streetability characteristics in order to deliver the very best lap times. With lots of grip and shoulders that are generally more square, these tires can be more challenging to drive at their limits. They should be mounted on separate wheels and installed at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Hoosier A7.

Pros of Track Tires:

  • Performance - If you are racing to win, track tires are the way to go.
  • Easiest way to turn faster lap times.

Cons of Track Tires:

  • Track tires won't work in the rain. You need a separate set if rain is a possibility.
  • More challenging to drive at the limit.
  • Often requires suspension modification or a specialized set-up.

The New Hoosier A7 Versus the Hoosier A6

Friday, May 30, 2014 by Gary Stanley

For many years, drivers looking for race-winning performance in an autocross tire turned to the Hoosier A6. Not only are Hoosier race tires high quality, competitive products, they're made right here in Indiana. Building on the success of the Hoosier A6 is the all-new A7.  

Hoosier's A7 is a DOT-legal slick tread design with alternating five-dash circumferential grooves interrupting the solid grip surface. In addition to the new look of the five-dash grooves, the A7 features a new tread compound designed to extend wear and useable heat cycles. The tire is also designed so that it has less “fall-off” during a long run and less degradation over the life of the tire compared to the previous A6 version.   

The tire's internal structure features a symmetric construction that uses two lightweight steel belts reinforced by a spirally wrapped circumferential nylon cap ply under the tread on top of two nylon cord casing plies. It features a rim recess design on all sizes. Additionally, its symmetric tread design and internal construction allows the tire to be mounted on either side of the car (and later be remounted inside out to further extend its life).

To learn more about tires offered from Hoosier, read "Hoosier Tires Made in Indiana!

Introducing the New Hoosier A7

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Hoosier has long been the gold standard when looking for the best racetrack and autocross tires. This season they have launched the new DOT A7 Radial. The tire replaces the widely popular Hoosier A6 and aims to set the bar even higher.

DOT A7 Radials are Racetrack & Autocross Only tires developed for drivers who compete in autocross, time trial and hillclimb events in dry conditions where responsiveness and high levels of grip at lower operating temperatures are desirable. A7 tires are also used for road racing on lightweight cars or when competing in cool ambient temperatures where Hoosier's R6 Radials can't be brought up to favorable operating temperatures.

These tires incorporate a new tread compound designed to extend wear and useable heat cycles, as well as experience less “fall-off” during a long run and less degradation over the life of the tire (compared to A6 tires). The tread compound is molded into a slick tread design interrupted only by five-dash circumferentially oriented grooves alternating outboard and inboard.

 Hoosier A7
Hoosier A7
 Hoosier A7
Hoosier A7


Beginning with a tread depth of 4/32", they will not require shaving for competition, however they'll benefit from a minimal scuff-in prior to their first run. We can provide a heat cycling service for an additional $15 per tire, so when you receive your new A7 tires they will be track ready.

The new A7 tires are in stock and ready for race season. Shop by size and see if there is an A7 tire offered for your track car today!

Hoosier Tires Made in Indiana!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 by Gary Stanley

If you're looking for race-winning performance in an autocross or road race tire, look no further than Hoosier Racing tires! Not only are Hoosier tires of outstanding quality, they're made right here in Indiana.

 Hoosier A6
Hoosier A6
 Hoosier R6
Hoosier R6


Manufactured in Plymouth, Indiana, Hoosier's tires are popular for competition use in:

  • Autocross
  • Road Racing
  • High Performance Driving Events
  • Miata Racing
  • Time Attack Racing

While the Hoosier A6 and R6 may look the same, they have different tread compounds. Which Hoosier tire is for you? If you are chasing cones in an autocross event or are a very light road racer, choose the Hoosier A6. This tire heats up very quickly for the short runs that are typical at most autocrossing events.

For heavier cars and most track driving applications, choose the Hoosier R6. It requires more of a gradual warm-up time and provides consistency lap after lap. Two factors that will help steer you to victory!

While Hoosier tires are DOT-legal, they are not intended for highway use. Due to their low tread depth and ultra sticky rubber compound, we recommend that these tires be used on the track only.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Monday, February 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.62
 
 

2006 BMW M3 Coupe Competition Package
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

 
Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 9,500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 9,500 Miles on Tires
November 26, 2013

Use these as my street tires, in 255/35R19 front and 275/30R19 rear, mounted on a set of Volk TE37SL wheels (19x9.5" & 19x11") on my extensively modified M3. For reference, track tires are usually PS Cups, or Nitto/Hoosier R-comps.

First off, these are the ONLY Street Tires I have run on this car that aren't immediately overpowered by the brakes, which are StopTech Trophy 6P/4P 380mm/355mm 2pc that I use for competition. Braking distance is better with these than anything else that is daily driveable, and in the wet I have more traction than I would have ever thought possible especially from these widths!

With a quite stiff race suspension, these tires have improved ride quality and decreased noise, with no perceptible change in NVH since new.

Control is phenomenal, with very good feedback and they are very communicative as to their limits, while allowing throttle on oversteer but being perfectly easy to reign back in.

Since going with these for my M3, I have also swapped to them on my GT3 RS and they're every bit as good there.

Another benefit is that they weigh in at about 2.5lbs less than other comparable tires, and in my pursuit of decreasing drivetrain loss as much as absolutely possible, the extra 10lbs of unsprung weight combined with the 28lb from the wheels is immense.

11/10.

 

Which Competition Tires Suit Your Needs Best?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Many are already thinking about the 2014 track season and some of those that live in warm climates are still racing. Wherever you may reside, choosing a competition tire can be overwhelming, especially for the beginner.

Racetrack & Autocross Only

Majority of tires in this class feature a slick type design that offers the top in dry traction, steering response, braking and acceleration. These tires are delicate and are not intended to be driven on the street or exposed to cold temperatures. Their life can be extended by using our in-house heat cycling service. A few of the top performers include:

Wet Racetrack & Autocross Only

These tires feature a more aggressive directional tread design and deep tread depths to provide excellent wet traction on the track. Tires in this performance category are delicate and not intended to be street driven or exposed to cold temperatures. If this sounds like something you're looking for out of a tire, Hoosier offers a great option.

Drag Racing Radials

Specifically designed for straight line racing, this class gives the driver drag strip performance from tires that are streetable. Due to their soft sidewalls, meant to help the tire deflect under straight line acceleration, they can feel softer than normal around corners in street conditions. These tires are delicate and not intended to be driven in wet conditions or exposed to cold temperatures. Top performers in the category include:


BFGoodrich g-Force R1

Hoosier Radial Wet H20

Toyo Proxes TQ


No matter what your level of expertise on the track, Tire Rack has the tires you need!

Hoosier A6 vs. R6: Which to Choose?

Thursday, May 9, 2013 by Ben Rooney

The Hoosier A6 and R6 are two of the most successful DOT-legal racing tires in recent years. A6 and R6 tires look identical, but are designed for different types of competition. How do you know which is best for your vehicle?

The Hoosier A6 was developed with autocross competition in mind. It uses a softer compound for maximum grip and comes up to temperature more quickly to reach optimal grip between 110 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A6 tires deliver more traction, but give up longevity to do so. In autocross, where runs are extremely short, this lack of longevity is not a problem and allows a set of A6 tires to last for multiple events. Though the tires are generally ready to run when brand new, a light scuff-in can be beneficial.

Hoosier R6 tires are designed for roadrace competition. They have a more durable compound that's better able to hold up to multiple lapping sessions, higher speeds and larger race courses. The R6 should be heat cycled before competition use for the most consistent performance. Tire Rack offers heat cycling service for competition tires. With this service, the tires arrive ready to use.


Hoosier A6

Hoosier R6


Some drivers will also use the A6 on road courses for sprint races or qualifying sessions where a few fast laps are of the utmost importance. Used in this way, the A6 will often be used up in one session. Using the A6 in a roadrace setting is only recommended for experienced drivers who know exactly what they need and are willing to go through a set of tires in one event. Lightweight vehicles with moderate horsepower may also use the A6 in cooler weather when they're not able to get the R6 up to the optimal temperature range of 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit .

Drivers preparing to run Hoosier tires on the track should also read Hoosier's care and feeding document.

Hoosier Race Tires - Do I Need the A6 or R6 Compound?

Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Here at Tire Rack, we are lucky to be within a short distance of one of the best race tire manufacturers in the country: Hoosier Racing Tire. It all began in the early 1950s when Robert Newton raced on small asphalt tracks around northern Indiana. Bob, was not satisfied with driving on street tires, so he decided to produce tires specifically designed for racing. Of the wide variety of tires that Hoosier offers, we have committed to stocking their two most popular models aimed at the needs of our customers who either autocross or roadrace: the A6 and R6.

Hoosier A6 tires are intended to be used at autocross events, as the tire has a lower operating temperature for maximum traction. Many autocross events are too short on time or distance to get a race tire up to its optimal temperature. This is why the A6 is perfect for these situations. The softer rubber compound that the A6 uses doesn't have enough durability to endure long run times (like in a track environment), so they should be used for shorter runs only.

R6 tires feature a more durable rubber compound that needs a little more time to come up to an ideal temperature range to be effective. This type of rubber compound makes the R6 better suited for longer runs with little cool down between sessions. For best results, Hoosier recommends a heat cycle of the compound at least 24 hours prior to use to maximize durability. Heat cycling is available for our customers when shipping from our Indiana or Nevada distribution centers for only $15 per tire.


Hoosier A6

Hoosier R6


Bear in mind, both the A6 and R6 radials are not intended to be driven in colder (below 40º F) temperatures, through snow or on ice. For best results, the tires also need to be stored indoors at temperatures maintained above 32º F. For more information on properly maintaining your Hoosier tires, read "Care and Feeding of the Hoosier A6/R6."

Best Tires for Roadrace and Autocross Events

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Colin .

With spring here, many drivers are getting ready to purchase tires for roadrace or autocross use.  

For those who want tires they'll use mostly on the street, but want to do some racing, the Extreme Performance Summer category offers some good options. Tires in this performance category won't give you the fastest lap times compared to competition tires, however they are a good choice for the less serious racer. If this sounds like what you're looking for, consider the following options:

For the more serious race enthusiast, take a look at our selection of Track & Competition DOT tires. These are options that shouldn't be driven on the street and are for the track only. If you are looking for a tire for your roadrace event, consider the Hoosier R6. If autocross is your event, take a look at the A6 from Hoosier.


BFGoodrich g-Force Rival

Hoosier R6

Hankook Ventus Z214


Hoosier's set-up process to maximize treadwear and handling is more involved than other tires, however their tires are hard to beat! For those that want a good competition tire at a lower price point, the Hankook Ventus Z214 is available in both a roadrace and autocross compound. 

Will your new set of tires need to be saved? If so, how far should they be shaved? Read "Shaving Tires for Autocross / Track Use / Competition" to see how this service can help you maximize your tire's performance capabilities early in their life.

Differences Between BFGoodrich's g-Force R1 and g-Force R1 S

Thursday, April 4, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

As the spring season gets underway and customers begin to shop for race tires, I have taken a few calls concerning the differences between BFGoodrich's Dry Racetrack & Autocross Only offerings, the g-Force R1 and g-Force R1 S.

The BFGoodrich g-Force R1 is the tire most suited for extended road course use. It features a more durable compound designed for longer life and consistency. Like all competition products, life will be considerably shorter than any street tire. However, several weekends of fun in competition events are possible if the tire is properly driven!

In contrast, BFGoodrich's g-Force R1 S is designed for light bursts, most commonly associated with autocross. The "S" designation implies the tire is intended for sprint use. Featuring a softer compound, this tire comes up to temperature quickly, but exchanges life to do so. It's best suited for autocross use or for individuals looking to set competitive qualifying laps.


BFGoodrich g-Force R1

BFGoodrich g-Force R1 S


Both tires are not appropriate for highway use. They aren't recommended for driving in wet conditions where standing water is present and there's the risk of hydroplaning; drivers should drive cautiously at reduced speeds if they encounter these conditions. It's also essential these tires be stored indoors at temperatures maintained above 32 degrees F.

The relationship between these two tires is very similar to that of the Hoosier R6 and A6, which are also meant for track and autocross use.

Get your racing season off to a good start by shopping by vehicle and finding the tire best suited for your driving style!

Search Race Tires by Size Quickly and Easily

Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Depending on where you live, race season will soon be upon us or is now in full swing for many SCCA racers and other racing organizations. We carry a variety of street legal race tires from Hoosier, BFGoodrich, Michelin, Kumho, Hankook and Toyo. If you know Hoosier is the brand for you, take a look at "Hoosier A6 and R6 Race Tires."

While Tire Rack offers an easy-to-use shop by vehicle feature, many racers use wider, non-standard sizes in order to maximize track performance. Since racecars often have more flexibility in sizes that can be used, it's often helpful to see a list of sizes that a given tire is available in. Therefore, shopping by size is a more efficient way to find the race tire you're looking for. 

However, if you already know which specific race tire you want and would simply like to know what sizes are available and how that tire compares to its competitors, follow these steps: 

  1. Visit our Tire Survey Results
  2. Select the tire that interests you
  3. Click on the 'Sizes" tab

Now that you've found your tires, it may be a good idea to have them heat cycled. Heat cycling actually makes Track & Competition DOT tread compounds more consistent in strength and more resistant to losing their strength the next time they're used. For more information, read "Competition Tire Heat Cycling Service."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.88

2006 Mazda MazdaSpeed6
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: Rosemount, MN
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
November 01, 2012

This tire is hands down the best bang for your buck of any summer performance street tire. The dry and wet grip are outstanding. It has very respectable amount of feedback and is more comfortable than it has any right to be considering how much grip it offers. It has a ridiculous amount of grip for a street tire at nearly all temps. Even down below freezing it still maintains excellent dry grip which is unusual for a summer tire. The wet traction, in my experience, is 2nd only to a Hoosier rain racing tire. For my street cars I will personally buy nothing else. It hangs with and surpasses overall performance of street tires costing twice as much.

Race Tires Versus Extreme Performance Summer Tires

Friday, August 31, 2012 by Gary Stanley

I recently had a customer inquire about whether he should use R-compound Track & Competition DOT tires or if the tires in our Extreme Performance Summer category would be more appropriate. His email question is listed below:

"Gary,

I'm looking for tires for my BMW 335i that I can take to a non-competitive performance driving school to learn track driving skills. This will be my first time on the track in any car so I'm not sure if I should get Extreme Performance Summer tires or actual race tires. I won't be changing tires at the track so I would need something that is streetable, as well. The tire size I'm going to use is 225/45R17. Thanks for any advice you can offer."

I told the customer that tires from the Extreme Performance Summer category would work best for him and suggested the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 and Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 as good options for his vehicle.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11
Bridgestone Potenza RE-11
Yokohama ADVAN AD08
Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08


These are street tires that can be driven on the track without destroying them and perform reasonably well if driven within their limits. They are much easier for learning on a track and hone your skills. Each tire has more progressive breakaway at the limit compared to R-compound tires, and not nearly as delicate on the street as tires like the Hoosier R6 or BFGoodrich g-Force R1

To learn more about Extreme Performance Summer tires, read my previous blog post "What are Extreme Performance Summer Tires?"

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec

Monday, August 6, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star SpecReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.14

1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Hyde Park, NY
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
July 31, 2012

First off, I've found this tire to be louder than most... but, this is on a sports car, so I don't really care.

For many years I've used the Michelin PS2s, and been very happy with them. I decided to go with the Dunlops based on a few recomendations and their slightly cheaper price. I don't usually track this car, because I have a race car with Hoosier R6s, but once or twice a year there's a HPDE event where I can't bring the race car - so I drive the 996 with the PS2s.

Well, I just came back from driving the Dunlops on the track, and I'm really impressed. They held up at least as well as the PS2s and they were quite grippy. I'm convinced, for track duty, they're about the best regular street tire out there.

I've driven a number of other street tires on the track over the years, and too often the first few laps feel OK, but the rubber compounds and/or tire construction just can't handle the heat. After 10 minutes or so, it's like sliding around on snow tires.

Sure, you can feel the Dunlops' grip falling off a little after 30 minutes, but it is still a street tire - it's not magic! I'm just saying it's the best street tire I've experienced on the track.

E46 M3 Track Tires and Wheels

Monday, August 6, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

The E46 M3 is great for high-speed cruising and awesome for the track. If you're doing lapping days once a year just make sure your tires and brakes are in good shape. If you're heading to the track every weekend then fix the car's understeer by upgrading your wheels and tires and getting a "track" alignment.  

Wheels:

Running wider wheels and tires of the same size in the front and back in a square set-up will remove some of the car's inherent understeer. We offer a few 18x9.5 35mm offset wheels designed to work with 265/35R18 and 275/35R18 tires. 18x9.5 ET 35mm on either size will require a combination of fender and wheelwell modification, along with changes in negative camber to fit. Even with the changes, this is a proven E46 M3 set-up.

For this wheel size, take a look at the matte grey TR Motorsports MT1 and the O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT in anthracite painted finish. You can also special order the black, blue, gold, matte graphite silver, orange, red and white.

18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey Painted TR Motorsports MT-1 $329**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey TR Motorsports MT1
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted OZ Alleggerita $419**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted O.Z. Racing Alleggerita


Non-Streetable Track Tires:

Are you installing a second set of wheels at the track? Then the ultimate grip from non-streetable track tires such as the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18, 275/35ZR18 Hoosier R6 and 275/35ZR18 Hankook Ventus Z214 are great options to consider.

BF Goodrich G-Force R1 265/35-18 $289** & 275/35-18 $299**
BFGoodrich g-Force R1
275/35-18 Hoosier R6 $334**
Hoosier R6
275/35-18 Hankook Ventus Z214 (C51 Compound) $235**
Hankook Ventus Z214


Streetable Track Tires:

Will you be using the same set of tires at the track that you drove to the event on? The non-streetable tires mentioned earlier are easily damaged by road debris. A piece of wire the size of a paper clip can get picked up by the tire, work its way into the shallow tread, through the tire's lightweight plies and puncture the inner liner.

So if your track tires will be driven to the track, consider streetable race tires like the Toyo Proxes RA888 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18. The 265/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup or the 265/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes RA1 are also great options worth taking a look at.

Toyo Proxes R888 265/35-18 $300** & 275/35-18 $270**
Toyo Proxes R888
265/35-18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup $351**
 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup
265/35-18 Toyo Proxes RA1 $268**
Toyo Proxes RA1


Drivers will differ in their preference in predictability versus overall grip, but the Toyo Proxes RA888 provides slightly better grip than the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and a little bit of a better value. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup's main advantage is more consistent grip from lap to lap, therefore it may be the better choice for a longer event. Toyo Proxes RA1s are less sensitive to small flaws in the vehicle set-up, so if you're still tuning with respect to damper settings, ride height and camber, then the Proxes RA1 would be a good choice.

Alignment:

Optimum alignment settings will vary with tire, damper and spring choices. Most drivers will find that running 3.5-3.8 degrees of negative camber and zero toe for the front to be optimum. You'll need to get adjustable camber plates for the front so you can run that much negative camber.

For the rear, 2.4-2.6 negative camber and the high side of the factory toe-in is normally ideal. You should be able to adjust to these specs without a camber kit. Camber is adjusted at the lower eccentric bolt attaching the lower control arm to the hub assembly (under the axle).

E46 M3 Track Wheels and Tires FAQ:

  1. I've heard of other drivers running 285/30R18 or wider tires on 18x10 wheels, will that fit? When we assess the risk of rubbing we're very conservative. We consider the above wheels and 265/35R18, 275/35R18 and 285/30R18 sized tires all to be custom sizes requiring varying degrees of fender modification and wheelwell modification. High negative camber helps with front tire clearance, too. If you've changed to coil-overs or aftermarket struts, you may have less inside clearance with any of the above sizes.
     
  2. I still drive a fair amount of street miles on my M3, can I adjust camber at the track so I can preserve some tire wear? For the front you can mark your camber plates so you can adjust between track and street settings. In the rear, the washer at the bolt head has notch marks on it that can be highlighted with paint.
     
  3. What about brake pads for my vehicle? For better bite and fade resistance switch to dedicated track pads like the Hawk DTC70 in the front and DTC60 in the rear. Once you get back from the track be sure to switch back to your normal brakes, as the race pads will be noisy, dusty and ineffective in cool weather.
     
  4. Do I need to shave and/or heat cycle my track tires? All the above tires will benefit from heat cycling which acts like a second curing for the tire and helps them maintain consistent grip from lap to lap. The Hoosier R6, BFGoodrich g-Force R1 are molded at 4/32" of tread depth so they don't need to be shaved. Shaving will improve dry performance for the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Toyo Proxes RA1 and Toyo Proxes R888.

Toyo Proxes R888: The Newest Race Compound Offering from Tire Rack

Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

In recent years, performance street tires have come a long way. The amount of performance that can be had from new age Extreme Performance Summer tires has lead to rapid growth in competition classes that mandate street tires with a UTQG treadwear of above 140. These tires, which can be driven on the street, allow drivers to commute to their local autocross events or track days without bringing along wheels and tires to change out. Tires such as the Hankook Ventus R-S3, Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec and Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 have been very popular choices for drivers demanding street miles and acceptable levels of track performance.

For drivers that are looking to expand upon the traction threshold of a street tire, a race compound or R-Comp is your next step. Offered in UTQG treadwear numbers ranging from 0 to 100, race tires sacrifice mileage for softer tread compounds that focus on maximum dry grip. 

Recently, Tire Rack came into contract with Toyo to offer their motorsport line of products. This allows us to sell their new Toyo Proxes R888, which has been a popular choice for racers seeking an intermediate race compound that finds a happy medium between lap times and longevity. With a UTQG treadwear rating of 100, these tires are softer than a street tire and provide improved dry performance all while still offering a good amount of seat time. Compared to a shallow tread designed tire like the Hoosier R6 (UTQG 40), drivers can expect superior wear and better wet traction. While the Toyo may not be ultimately as quick in the dry compared to a Hoosier R6 or BFGoodrich g-Force R1, they are more cost-effective, longer wearing and endorsed as a spec tire for many racing bodies such as the SCCA and NASA.

Available in a large range of diameters and widths, Toyo's Proxes R888 should help fill the gap between a competitive street tire and the most extreme of road race compounds. 

Wheel and Tire Fitments for Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S Now Available

Friday, June 22, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Since the release of the Subaru BRZ and its twin the Scion FR-S, we have been able to get both vehicles to Tire Rack's headquarters for measurements. First indication is that these very capable cars have been very "under tired" from the factory. Despite its excellent poise and impressive skidpad numbers, the BR-Z and FR-S are shod with a narrow 215/45-17 all-season tire from the factory. Such a fitment, although good for fuel efficiency and tread life, severely inhibits the cars' true performance. The wheels also seem a bit too narrow and use a very conservative high offset which makes them appear sunken into the fenders.

Based upon our measurements, these two cars are capable of running a 245 width tire on all four corners -- utilizing anywhere between a 17"-19" wheel. If you're wanting to run a staggered set-up, the rear fender arches can accommodate a width up to 265mm with the correct wheel.

Autocross and track driving participants will likely wish to use a square set-up to maintain the car's balance. The hot set-up for these, in my opinion, would be a 17x8 wheel using a 245/40-17 tire at all four corners. This tire size allows for many popular street tires to be installed including the Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08, Bridgestone Potenza RE-11, Kumho Ecsta XS, Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec and Hankook Ventus R-S3. Are you looking to utilize a purely competition tire? You may find interest in the Hankook Ventus Z214, BFGoodrich g-Force R1, Hoosier A6 or Hoosier R6

With many tire choices available, as well as a large inventory of wheels from manufacturers like Enkei Racing Series, O.Z. Racing and Sparco, the best way to start looking for your desired set-up is to view our Tire & Wheel Packages.

A 2012 Street Tire Auto-X Favorite: Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Although the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec's name is a bit taxing, its popularity and test results have been quite clear. As one of the top Extreme Performance Summer tires, the Z1 Star Spec has been a hit among drivers looking to be competitive in street tire racing classes which demand a treadwear of 140 or higher.

It seems that the creation of a new class, dubbed Street Mod Street or SMS for short in SCCA's SOLO II category, has added to the Dunlop's popularity. This class allows drivers of highly modified vehicles to use the Star Spec as a more cost-effective alternative to R-compound tires. Where as before in Street Modified, the only way to be truly competitive was to run a low tread depth tire (2-4/32") and extremely soft compound (Hoosier A6). Now drivers can enjoy tires that can be driven to the event, wear much longer and are easier on the budget -- all while staying class competitive.

Recently, I went to a SCCA event in Fort Wayne, Indiana and counted approximately 15 cars using this tire. The types of cars varied greatly and included the SMS class winner in a well-prepared Acura Integra, as well as two newer body style Mustang GTs, an E46 BMW M3 and a handful of Miatas. Given the large amount of available sizes ranging from 14-18", the tire's low price point and phenomenal track times, I can't say that I was surprised at what I saw.

If you're looking to outfit your sports car, sports sedan or grassroots racer with a competitive street tire, then watch "Testing the New Extremes of Extreme Performance Summer Tires" and see how this tire can help you enjoy driving more.

UTQG Treadwear Numbers: What Do They Mean?

Friday, April 27, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Often, I receive calls about a tire's life and the tire's relationship to its assigned UTQG treadwear indicator. UTQG numbers are assigned to indicate a tires overall level of performance and tread hardness. These numbers beginning at 0 for race products and traveling north of 800 for some of the longest lasting all-season tires, are nothing more than a general guideline to assist customers in making their correct tire purchase. 
 

While certain performance standards are held standard, such as Traction Grades and Temperature Resistance, UTQG treadwear numbers are published by the manufacturer based upon their test findings of a tire's life expectancy. It's important to note that not all manufacturer's standards are equal and similar ratings may lead to different real world results between similar product types.
 

On a large basis, however, most manufacturer's figures are surprisingly accurate. To gain a better understanding of the process, take a look at a few of our popular performance categories beginning with soft compounds and working our way up.

Track & Competition DOT

These tires offer maximum grip in race environments where performance is key and treadlife is sacrificed. In order to be competitive, these tires feature a soft tread compound that tends to be very adhesive. These soft tires wear much faster than a standard street tire and aren't recommend for street use. Take a look at the Hoosier A6, a popular autocross tire to see an example. Note this tire's low UTQG figure of 40.
 

Max Performance Summer

This category features high-performance tires designed for street use. Although not nearly as soft as the race products outlined above, they're at home in a performance environment. This is an optimal choice for a driver looking for acceptable levels of treadwear combined with a high-performing grip level. Even though these tires offer much more flexibility, I'm reminded of an economics lesson: There is no free lunch. The longest wearing Max Performance Summer tires will not outlast a good performing all-season option. Sometimes a driver must choose between smiles and miles. Take a look at our current top-rated summer tire, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and its 300 indicated UTQG treadwear.
 

Ultra High Performance All-Season

Perhaps our most popular and best-selling category, the Ultra High Performance All-Season, promotes higher treadwear in exchange for some loss in ultimate dry grip. Although not as soft, and therefore not as sticky as the Max Performance Summer tires, these tires still place a good amount of focus on performance. This new breed of all-season tires typically lasts between 30,000-50,000 miles and allows the driver to experience practicality while also including good performance features such as a responsive sidewalls and higher speed ratings. The Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position is currently the number one tire in this category and carries a UTQG number of 400.

Standard Touring All-Season

Tires in this category sacrifice performance in terms of ultimate dry grip to focus on maximum life and mileage. These tires are designed for conservative drivers that are looking for the best in ride, treadlife and practicality. These tires aren't meant for track use or for aggressive street driving, but often work well as purposeful all-season tires. The popular Hankook Optimo H727 is a great example of such a tire. Notice that its 700 treadwear fits this category to a tee.