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.

Continental TrueContact Replaces ProContact with EcoPlus Technology

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Continental has been on a roll! First, they introduced the ExtremeContact DWS which quickly became a customer favorite in our customer survey data. This Ultra High Performance All-Season tire set the bar for winter snow traction in its category while still being competitive with good wet and dry traction.  

Next, Continental released another winner with the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology. This tire is currently ranked number one in our Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season category. It's praised by customers for its outstanding combination of ride, wear and traction in a variety of weather conditions.  

Recently, the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology equaled or bested the top Grand Touring All-Season tires from Michelin and Bridgestone while coming in at a lower price-point. For more information on this tire, read "Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology vs. ContiProContact."

Now, Continental is set to have another big winner, this time in the Standard Touring All-Season category, with the new TrueContact. This new tire is replacing the ProContact with EcoPlus Technology. The ProContact with EcoPlus Technology is ranked second in the category. Will the new TrueContact be able to claim the top spot?  

 Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology
Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology
 Continental True Contact
Continental
TrueContact


TrueContact tires have vertical ridges in the circumferential grooves to improve snow traction, as well as Continental's Comfort Ride Technology to provide an even smoother ride. These features and other improvements include a treadlife warranty of 90,000 miles. Is the TrueContact right for you? Search by vehicle and find out!

Hankook's New Ventus V12 evo2 vs Original Ventus V12 evo K110

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Hankook has been producing tires since 1941 and is the seventh largest tire company in the world. While many of their tires are made in Asian countries, Hankook announced they're planning to build a plant in the United States. Amongst enthusiasts, they're known to produce some of the best value-oriented performance tires. 

While the Max Performance Summer tire of choice on the market is currently the Michelin Pilot Super Sport, not every driver wants to pay the price for the extra performance they may not fully utilize. Since its introduction, the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 has been a customer favorite for drivers looking for a good combination of wet grip, dry grip, ride and wear at a great price. The tire has been an especially popular choice for BMW forum members looking for a great bang-for-the-buck performance tire. 

 Hankook Ventus V12 EVO
Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
 Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2
Hankook Ventus V12 evo2


According to Hankook, their new Ventus V12 evo2 boasts improvements over the Ventus V12 evo K110 in wet and dry grip, while reducing rolling resistance for improved fuel economy. There's also a slight improvement in treadwear.

Hankook is known for making affordable tires, and has kept the price-point on the new Ventus V12 evo2 very close to the original V12 evo K110 in most sizes. We will have a full test of this tire in the summer of 2014, so stay tuned! To learn more about how we test tires, take a look at "Tire Rack's Tire Testing Program."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, April 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
 
 

2011 Volkswagen GTI
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

 
Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 32,000
Location: Bonners Ferry, ID
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 32,000 Miles on Tires
March 30, 2014

Simply amazing! These summer tires lasted me two seasons and almost 50000km on all types of mountain highways and conditions from northern British Columbia to the southern tip of Arizona. I own a 2011 VW GTI and I love to drive fast especially in the corners. I bought the car new with a set of Pirelli all seasons on them but didn't care for them much. These Michelin tires were a huge upgrade and gave me the confidence to consistantly push the limit. Mind blowing stablility and control with no slippage except when cornering under the most extreme circumstances. There is some hydroplaning in very wet conditions but not enough to keep you from being the lead car...every time. There is some road noise for the first few thousand kilometers during the break in period but it becomes increasingly less noticeable. You really get to know your vehicle and your driving capabilities when you run these tires. I am a starving university student but I live for those long, summer roadtrips so the price for these tires is well worth living off of Kraft Dinner and hotdogs for a few more months. I will definitely be buying them again. Thank you Tirerack for providing us with the best selection and prices for the only shoes that really matter!

I also run Michelin Pilot Alpin in the winter which are also very good performance winter tires. Check em out!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter

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.

Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.55
 
 

1995 Chevrolet Blazer 4wd 4dr
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

 
Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 500
Location: Bloomington, MN
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
January 01, 2014

Living in MN we get our share of snow and ice, but switching to the Goodyear Ultra Grip winter snow tire was the best thing I could of done. As compared to the Michelin all season radials I had on the 4X4 Blazer, I realized an "immediate" grip and go in hard packed snow, and after a 6" snowfall. Thanks Tire Rack for a great winter tire, and it had a budget friendly price with a $40 rebate to boot.

 

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Still Number One

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Having been on the market for over a year-and-a-half, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport still reigns supreme as the highest-rated tire in the Max Performance Summer category. While certain tires may occasionally hold the top spot for a few months, it's quite a rare feat to see such prolonged dominance. 

Frankly, I'm not surprised as this tire was a favorite among the staff during internal testing. Turn-in is crisp, the tire feels nimble, has great breakaway characteristics and an amazing grip level for a 300 treadwear street tire. While sometimes a little higher in price-point than others in its class, this tire really does deliver it all. In addition to being a solid performer, it has also received superior scores for treadlife, ride quality and noise quality. 

Here is a taste of what some of our customers are saying about their experience with the tire:

"The best tires I have ever used for road handling, performance and wear!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2007 Lexus GS450h

"These are by far the best tires I've ever had. They're quiet and soft. Great ride. Excellent value." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

"Excellent tires! I'm able to corner without hesitation and full confidence. The steering response is great and the tire wear is excellent. I will be buying these tires again, no doubt!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2009 Audi A5 3.2

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Best Winter Tires 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013 by Colin .

As we enter into the winter months, it's important to have tires that will give you the best traction possible. The following tires should be considered by drivers who experience harsh winter weather and travel on snow- and ice-covered roads.  

Bridgestone

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 is still one of the best winter / snow tires on the market. It rates highly in ice traction against other leading winter tires and also provides excellent snow traction. Bridgestone also offers a similar tire marketed toward trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers, named the Blizzak DM-V1.

Blizzak DM-V1 tires use Bridgestone's Multicell Z compound featuring microscopic bubbles and tubes to absorb the thin film of water that forms as tires run over packed snow and ice, while micro bite particles contribute to the edge effect that improves grip on packed snow and icy surfaces. It also incorporates advanced 3D Wash Board Z Sipe technology that increases both block stiffness for handling in the dry and increases the biting edge effect on frozen surfaces.

Michelin

Michelin's leading winter tire is the X-Ice Xi3. This Studless Ice & Snow tire was developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, family vans and small crossover vehicles that are looking for ice and snow traction along with predictable handling in cold, dry and wet wintry conditions. It also meets Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance and confirms the tire's contribution to reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions of CO2 gases. The X-Ice Xi3 is designed to take on ice and snow while providing lasting winter performance.


Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Dunlop Winter Maxx


Dunlop

Dunlop is offering a new tire this year with the release of the Winter Maxx. We tested the tire on ice and it performed well. After comparing the tire against the Blizzak WS70, Continental ExtremeWinterContact and Michelin X-Ice Xi3, we determined the tire matched with the best tires on ice. 

The Winter Maxx's Digital Rolling Simulation technology helps optimize tread pattern stiffness to enhance footprint pressure distribution for improved grip. Snow platform indicators are molded into the Winter Maxx tread grooves to inform the driver when beneficial ice and snow traction will be reduced as the tread wears away. Winter Maxx tires also are designed to increase confidence in cool and cold driving conditions as they enhance traction in slush, snow and on ice.

General

The AltiMAX Arctic has been around for many years and is still one of our popular sellers. We have tested the tire studded and unstudded and it delivers excellent wintertime traction in the snow and on ice. For its price, it's a great value for many drivers.

To view all winter options available for your car, shop by vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DW

Friday, December 6, 2013 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.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10
 
 

2012 Ford Mustang GT Coupe
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

 
Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 6,500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 6,500 Miles on Tires
November 16, 2013

WOW!, What a set of tires, the best I have had. Responsive, quite ad wet/dry control all roll up in one very competitively priced tire. You could spend more with Michelin and other names, but these are quarantee to overwhelm you. 6,500 miles, they just keep getting better.