All tires are not equal. So how do you know which to use on track day?

track day
The correct tires on the proper strain will make you quicker and safer throughout observe day occasions | SCCA photograph by Snaps Studio

Have a look at the palm of your hand. What you’re taking a look at roughly represents the contact patch for every of the 4 tires in your automobile. 

That’s it. Simply these few sq. inches join you, your car and no matter or whomever is driving alongside to the pavement, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re puttering across the neighborhood or pushing the restrict of adhesion throughout, for instance, observe day workouts, or throughout an emergency maneuver to keep away from a collision at an city intersection. 

Your driving talent and your automobile’s dynamic efficiency are solely as efficient because the contact maintained by these 4 patches of rubber compound. 

Not like the “all males are created equal” phrase within the “Declaration of the 13 United States of America,” all tires will not be endowed by their producers with equal capabilities. Every tire’s particular capabilities are spelled out on its sidewall, the place you’ll find things like load index, part width, facet ratio, kind of building, tire diameter and pace ranking.

Talking of pace scores, they vary from L, the 75 mph protected most steered for some off-road and light-truck tires, and M, the 81 mph restrict of some momentary spare tires, to a Z ranking that, if it  consists of 99Y in parentheses, means the tire has been examined to a pace in extra of 186 mph (300 km/h).

Sometimes, the tires on your loved ones sedan or crossover have a ranking of S (112 mph) or T (118), and are designed not solely to hold you safely at interstate freeway speeds however to be sturdy for presumably 75,000 or extra miles.

Tires are also produced for particular driving environments. Think about the apparent variations within the deeply contoured tread of an off-road or winter (snow) tire and the extensive, flat floor of a racing slick. 

Observe day at The Ridge | SCCA photograph by Motolyric

And never solely do they appear completely different, the rubber compounding that includes the tires’ outer construction additionally varies considerably. The compounding for the 75,000-mile tires on your loved ones sedan is sort of completely different from that utilized in a tire designed for the calls for of aggressive motorsports. 

Racing tires obtain most grip, partially by “mushy” compounding, and in doing so that they put on out shortly, which explains why tires are modified repeatedly throughout pit stops at big-time auto racing occasions.

Since we’re focusing in July on track-day actions, it appears apparent that we, that you just, want to contemplate which tires you need in your car so that you get most efficiency and pleasure out of your day of train on the race observe. 

In the case of tires, we defer to the consultants at, the Indiana-based firm that not solely sells tires however has a take a look at observe at its headquarters so it might consider tires and suggest the most effective options to its prospects.

Talking of suggestions, we suggest you take a look at three articles on the web site as you contemplate your observe day choices.

One article is “How to Choose the Correct Track Tires,” which covers using “road tires” on the observe in addition to what it calls “streetable observe tires,” that are tires designed particularly for observe use however which can be utilized to your drive to and from the observe, in addition to “specialised observe tires,” which can maximize on-track efficiency however which shouldn’t be pushed on the road. 

There’s one other consideration: Not solely may you need particular track-day tires, however you may wish to mount them on separate wheels, wheels designed to take care of the forces generated by track-day driving.

One other article to contemplate is “Sticky Tires for Your Fast Car: Tires You Can Drive on the Road and Take to the Track.” This text consists of hyperlinks to separate pages that present particular info on 15 completely different makes and fashions of efficiency tires.

One more article is “Track & Competition DOT Tires That Should Only Be Used on the Track,” which hyperlinks to 9 tires which might be nice on the observe however are thought-about too fragile for the cruel setting of the general public roadways.

But a fourth place you’ll wish to go to is the web site’s homepage for its tire test results. Not solely does it hyperlink to how the corporate checks tires, however to the newest of these checks accomplished in Might 2020.

After checking by the corporate’s web site, I known as Matt Edmonds, a long-time TireRack government and acknowledged tire knowledgeable, in case there was the rest potential observe day individuals ought to contemplate. There have been.

For one factor, he stated, he’s been to many observe days at which somebody arrives with a just lately bought low-mileage sports activities automobile that’s possibly 7 or eight years previous. The tires nonetheless look advantageous, so the brand new proprietor figures, “I’ll put on out the tires on the observe at the moment, after which I’ll purchase new ones.”

What occurs, Edmonds stated, is a “Zion Williamson second,” as a number of of the aged tires blow out like the previous Duke participant’s sneaker. Don’t go to the observe with drained tires.

Edmonds’ different suggestion was to watch out with tire pressures at observe day. While you go off-roading, you air down your tires for enhanced grip on rocky, sandy and uneven surfaces. However while you’re on the observe, it’s best to add a number of kilos of strain for higher dynamic efficiency (together with stiffening sidewalls for higher management within the turns), he stated, including that you just additionally must verify tire pressures at varied occasions in the course of the day.

How a lot strain must you run? His suggestion for newcomers was to seek out somebody on the observe with an analogous setup and ask what pressures they use. 

And keep in mind, the one factor conserving you on the observe are these 4 small patches the place rubber meets the street.

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