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Old 10-04-2009, 06:19 PM   #1
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Default Tire life during HPDE's

From what I have read, it seems that most HPDE driven Miatas can get 3 or 4 track days on a set of tires. Is that true for turbo'd Miatas too? I'm interested in information about really sticky summer tires and any R compound.

I think that R compounds are supposed to take the heat better. So, the R compounds may last longer than the summer tires. I also have read that the instructors may not let me drive as a novice on R tires.

I am located in Huntsville, AL. So, my "home track" will probably be Barber Motorsports Park. I don't have a tow vehicle. So, I will drive the car to the track. I would probably get a TireTail or build one of those little tow behind trailers.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:24 PM   #2
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Super fast high hp cars like Savington's will go through tires pretty quick. Those guys aren't just doing HPDE they are running time trials, looking for and willing to pay for a couple 10ths of a second. Top racers and time trial guys throw away tires that would last you several days of running. If, like most, you have have more conservative goals and abilities a good set of r-comps can last you quite a while. If you are running 4-6 times a year there is no reason you shouldn't get a couple seasons out of a set of tires unless you go soft compound. If you want to keep it cheap buy a used set of rains from a spec miata guy. You can buy a set of used r-comps anywhere from $40 to $200. Try em and see if you like em.

I've found for me it's cheaper and a lot more fun to run a second set of wheels with r-comps rather than dual purposing a high performance street tire. With two sets of wheels, one street one track, I get 25K miles from summer extreme performance tire and around 10 track days from used r-comps when I buy them in very good condition. If I dual puposed a street tire you could cut both those figures in 1/2.

After running r-comps the limits of my street tires seem pathetic and slow. Using them is good training for car control but not very thrilling.

To and from the track I put my jack and tool box in the trunk then line my r-comps across the trunk opening. They complete set of four sits upright wedged between the trunk lid and the lip. I run a tie down through the wheels and hook them to the trunk hinges. I run another tie down through the wheels to fasten them to each other. I've done at least 15 track days like this. Have driven to tracks several hours away. Never had an issue. It looks ridiculous but it's worked for me. It'll work on tires up to 225 width. Beyond 225's forget it. Food, water, extra fuel, etc all goes in the passenger compartment. Some guys remove the passenger seat and stack the 2nd set of wheels there. I was going to do a tire tail or trailer but the hitch is a lot of extra weight.

Last edited by cueball1; 10-04-2009 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:59 PM   #3
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I've done 3-events (7-hours) on my 205 NT-01's and they're just now getting through the tread, down to the 2-grooves. The 225's will last longer. I managed to kill a set of Azenis in 3-hours of seat time at 94whp when driving in extreme anger on an STI event.

The secret to long-lasting track rubber is to put the correct pressure in to maintain the right tire temp, run enough camber to get even wear, and very little tow/toe. You want 190* across the tread, no more. I was able to get my Azenis to 230* after 4 laps at Hallett, lol.

I have a little tire trailer too. I prefer the trailer because I have room for a truck box full of tools and a jack, 4 tires hanging over the rear, and room for 2x10-gallon fuel jugs so I don't have to jack with leaving the track for regularly priced fuel (no fuel at several tracks I frequent).
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:37 PM   #4
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R comps are not very forgiving once you push them past the limit. Street tires have a lower threshold, but the "grip" doesn't fall off near as rapidly. As a novice you will be less likely to regain control with R-comps than the summer tires. If I could easily draw a plot of traction vs speed I would, since that would make what I'm talking about very clear.

Barber can be very demanding on the tires with the number of corners and the elevation changes. Not to mention turn five (IIRC), which is off camber.

With that being said, I didn't get tires that were aggressive enough. I would now get RS3s or star specs. Kumho XS is apparently great for dry weather but sacrifices a lot in the rain.

I won't make it to Barber again until MAY
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:53 PM   #5
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Rs-3 or NT-05 (not our sizes though) are the best street tires for the track. After you've done a couple dozen hours in the hot-seat, you'll want to switch for the fun factor, and to let rubber last longer.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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kumho ecsta xs is the **** out of all street tires ive tried. sure they are loud as **** on track, sure they dont handle in wet; but they are cheap as **** and are VERY predictable. if you are a beginner, get these.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSoot View Post
kumho ecsta xs is the **** out of all street tires ive tried. sure they are loud as **** on track, sure they dont handle in wet; but they are cheap as **** and are VERY predictable. if you are a beginner, get these.
I forgot about this tire....I hear its great from a couple guys on this forum.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:28 PM   #8
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I have a set of Hankook RS-2s that have a few thousand miles of street use and have had like 12 days of track use and they still have some (not much) tread left.

I was quite impressed with how many track miles I got out of them.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:57 PM   #9
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It sounds like I won't be buying as many sets of tires as I think. That is very good news for my tiny budget.

I understand about the R tires giving up grip less gracefully. I have never experienced it though. The closest experience I have to that (I think) was when I was testing the need for traction control in a wet parking lot in my GTO. It wasn't a gradual change before the rear end snapped around.

I never thought about having to carry fuel with me to a track. That is one plus of a little trailer.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #10
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I wanted to avoid the "oh you're too green for r-comps" bullshit in this thread, but here's my take.

Yes, running r-comps in the temp they were designed to operate will last longer than street rubber at double their designed temp.

The best way I can describe my first event on r-comps is to say "cartoon grip". Its like you've been driving in the wet with street rubber, now its an exciting new world where you really get to scare the **** out of yourself. You can now go in too-hot and stay on line, it takes a lot more energy to pitch the car, and you can get away with little **** ups...but you're holding a lot more energy so when it lets go you will slide further. Its not like the car will turn into a 70's 911 or anything, you're just hauling much more ***.

Street rubber is a good learning tool, but one you get a clue and you know what the car is telling you, switch to real rubber. I bet its tough to run r-comps on something like an m-3 or modern porsche because they don't have the same connectivity between the machine and driver like my/Sav's/John's miata. The locals had me worked-up and afraid to put r-comps on my car, oh was I wrong. Its probably safer for me to be on r-comps when you start.

With a trailer, you can throw all your **** in the box and on the trailer, then sip tea and shoot heroin comfortably when you drive to the track.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:54 PM   #11
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Just to reinforce.... I would NOT recommend R compounds for a new to track driver. A season MINIMUM of high performance summer tires should be done at least. The R compounds will provide grip that masks bad driving habits. It will also up the O-**** factor with their typically more dramatic grip vs no-grip.

If this is your first season on track.... or next year is. Please do not start on R compounds. Few things make instructing uncomfortable than knowing your student is new to this... and running a built car... on R compounds.
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Old 10-04-2009, 11:55 PM   #12
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FYI, Savington runs about 7 days on each set of 225 NT-01s.

If I were you, I'd get some RA-1s and shave them to 4/32 (if you are only going to use them for track). They will last forever (until the cord is showing) and are not only faster when they are shaved, but also last longer.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:18 AM   #13
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Get a used set, as a second set for the track only. I picked up my 225 hossiers for 150, and they had not been used, just sat in a garage for a couple of years, they are harder than they would be new but they seem to be lasting longer then my last set of R comps (NT01) with sightly less grip, but for less then a quarter of the price they would be new. I would buy the NT01 if you get a new tire it seemed more forgiving and they are a good price.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashnscar View Post
FYI, Savington runs about 7 days on each set of 225 NT-01s.

If I were you, I'd get some RA-1s and shave them to 4/32 (if you are only going to use them for track). They will last forever (until the cord is showing) and are not only faster when they are shaved, but also last longer.
do ra-1's last longer than nt-01's? I don't know anyone who's compared them first-hand.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:39 AM   #15
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I bet they would last longer, but they'd be slower as well.

+1 to Splitime - start on street tires. It's not so much the predictability as the sheer grip - it teaches you bad habits, and if you do manage to break them loose, the resulting event is a BIG event. Once you are comfortable sliding the car on exit, walking it in a little crossed up on the brakes, then you can jump to R-comps and immediately drop 2-3 seconds off your laptimes.

These cars can be scary, scary fast on the right rubber in the right hands. Develop your driving skill on street tires, and switch up when you're comfortable.

I am doing about 7 days on NT-01s right now. If I ran every lap of every session, that might drop to 4 or 5, but 3 is low. The most important thing is that you CANNOT drive them on the highway, even to/from the event: you will heat cycle them out before they cord, and you end up replacing them early because they get slick. I did that to my first set and it sucked.

Work on your tire temps and camber settings and you can wear them pretty much dead even, all the way to the cords - and they are fast until they cord.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:30 AM   #16
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Thanks. You guys are full of good info. Some of you are even funny.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
I bet they would last longer, but they'd be slower as well.

+1 to Splitime - start on street tires. It's not so much the predictability as the sheer grip - it teaches you bad habits, and if you do manage to break them loose, the resulting event is a BIG event. Once you are comfortable sliding the car on exit, walking it in a little crossed up on the brakes, then you can jump to R-comps and immediately drop 2-3 seconds off your laptimes.

These cars can be scary, scary fast on the right rubber in the right hands. Develop your driving skill on street tires, and switch up when you're comfortable.

I am doing about 7 days on NT-01s right now. If I ran every lap of every session, that might drop to 4 or 5, but 3 is low. The most important thing is that you CANNOT drive them on the highway, even to/from the event: you will heat cycle them out before they cord, and you end up replacing them early because they get slick. I did that to my first set and it sucked.

Work on your tire temps and camber settings and you can wear them pretty much dead even, all the way to the cords - and they are fast until they cord.
Thanks for that tidbit of info Sav. I was unaware of this. I didn't think they got hot enough on the street. I'm glad I rechecked this thread.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:49 AM   #18
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I have to stop posting when pathetically drunk, or you guys will never understand me.
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:38 PM   #19
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My RS2s have 8 track days on them plus a few thousand street miles and still have ~2/32" left before they hit the wear bars. I've gotten comfortable driving to their limit of grip, squealing through every turn, knowing and predicting when I've gone in a little too fast and catching it when it steps out. When you get to that point, you're ready for grippier tires. Different drivers have different learning curves and it may take you more or less time to get there. In my case, I feel like the tires have really been holding me back for about the last ~4 track days. It's mildly frustrating but I take comfort in the fact that the only car on street tires I had to point by at the last event was a damn GT-R. My other points were all to R-shod cars. I can't wait to kill off these tires next year so I can move up in the world, but the experience I got with them will make me better going forward than somebody who jumps right in on Rs for their first track day.

It's nice being able to drive to the track and run without swapping wheels, which is why I was even considering RS3 or XS for my next set. Either would be better than my current RS2s, but not so exponentially better that I won't be frustrated for the last 2/3 of their tread life for wanting more grip. I see a trailer and NT-01s in my future. A big toolbox out back would certainly help with as much crap as I haul to weekend events.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:45 PM   #20
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Earlier comments on staying on street tires for your first season are right on target. You will get more feedback from a street tire which will help you learn more about car control.
Your first 10 track days are all about learning and experiencing basic concepts and you can easily do that in a stock car.
When you are ready for R compound tires, the Toyo RA1's are great and readily available used from racers.
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