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Old 03-01-2011, 03:35 AM   #1
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Default Street tires for the track

Picking up a seperate set of 15x8's soon for track use. My street wheels are not fit for track use and my autocross wheel/tire combo would completely defeat my attempts at focusing on maximizing my learning experiences at the track (full slicks).

Tracks that I will be going to are LA area or further, so 2-4 hours of drive time. No support vehicle tagging along, and no trailer so I'll be mounting the track wheels prior to leaving and driving them up to the events. This eliminates RA1s and NT-01s, and just as well because as discussed elsewhere, I'm turning the boost way down for the track and focusing on developing my driving and having fun - and so a street tire is perfect for these goals.

I'm dedicating a set of wheels/tires for this purpose for many reasons, so anyone who feels like saying "don't even worry about what rubber you're on for your first few events" needn't bother. I've already got a set of track dedicated wheels/rubber but as the car is now flared front and rear, the fit is super funky and the tires are heat cycled to crap so I'm moving on to a better fitting set for the car now and selling the old stuff. The conundrum is whether to go with the Kumho XS or the Hankook RS-3

XS 205/50/15
Pros: cheaper ($90 each at tirerack), 180 treadwear = lasts longer and less points allocated for MC.
Cons: stretched a bit on the 8" wheel, obviously slower (less ultimate ability) than the RS-3

RS-3 225/45/15
Pros: awesome street tire - I suspect plenty of room to grow into as skills develop, properly fits the 8" wheel
Cons: more $ than XS ($107 each at tirerack) although it's still nice and cheap, +2 points over the XS for MC - this matters as I actually have enough random crap done to the car to put it close to the unlimited class (not keen on being there)

I'm mostly looking for input from those who have used both/either tire on the track and your impressions of them/your recommendations of one over the other considering my needs/specific situation.

Thanks to all!
-Ryan
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:58 AM   #2
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205's will not be stretched. The section width is 8.4'' according to Kumho. However for an extra $17, the RS3's are a better choice.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:37 AM   #3
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your only paying 0.85 extra for each additional mm of footprint you gain.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:36 AM   #4
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I've ran both on a 15x8 and the RS3 is about 0.5-1.0 sec. faster on a 2 min course. if you can stay in Mod w/ the RS3 do it, if not go with the XS.

also if it rains, both of these tires suck...royally...
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
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Think you will be happier with the RS-3.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tann3r View Post
I've ran both on a 15x8 and the RS3 is about 0.5-1.0 sec. faster on a 2 min course. if you can stay in Mod w/ the RS3 do it, if not go with the XS.

also if it rains, both of these tires suck...royally...
I don't expect amazing wet traction from such tires, but they've got to be better than my rock hard azenis were at Laguna when it was pouring rain... just from tread design I'd maybe expect the RS-3 to be similar to an unshaved RA-1.. lots of guys use that as a rain tire for the track... at least I'm in California
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:03 PM   #7
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Try onlinetires.com, they have good prices and great selection. Try nitto neo gens or proxxes 4 or the k106, forget what brand those are.

These are all cheaper than the rs-3, and good in the rain. I've experienced the toyo and k106 in the rain and they're great. Not a big priority for you, but like I said, cheap.

My 225/50-15 (too tall for you most likely) proxxes 4 did 6 track days, and probably had another one or two in them when I got rid of them.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:31 PM   #8
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I have taken track tires to swap at the track without a trailer for years now. Curly can attest to this working. I stacked the wheels and tires across the trunk wedged against the trunk lid. I'd run a strap from the curved hinge through the tires to the other hinge and cinch that up. Then I'd run another strap through the wheels and around the exposed side of the tires and cinch that tight. Looked goofy but worked flawlessly for 15-20 track days. 205 tires fit easy, 225's were tighter but worked too. I've traveled to tracks 3 hours away at freeway speeds with no issues this way.

Short of an accident I always felt they were very secure. I just used ratcheting straps. Can't find a picture of my goofy set up. It's pouring rain today or I'd throw some tires in the trunk to show you what I did. Maybe if it clears up later.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Try onlinetires.com, they have good prices and great selection. Try nitto neo gens or proxxes 4 or the k106, forget what brand those are.

These are all cheaper than the rs-3, and good in the rain. I've experienced the toyo and k106 in the rain and they're great. Not a big priority for you, but like I said, cheap.

My 225/50-15 (too tall for you most likely) proxxes 4 did 6 track days, and probably had another one or two in them when I got rid of them.
Good in the rain perhaps but in the dry? Tann3r brought up the rain aspect, but it's not too much of a threat down here, and even the early spring MC event that actually did rain, most guys were on NT01s anyways.. I've used the proxxes 4 as my street tire a year or two ago - I am such a big fan of the T1R as a street tire I figured I would try the next step down from those to get a bit more lifespan out of a set of tires... I was fairly dissapointed by the amount of grip the proxxes 4 offered, even for street use.

I'm no race car driver, but with Carbotech XP10 pads I would expect the braking limits of those tires would be very easily found. Power is not so much an issue as I'll be turning it down, but I would expect to be dissapointed by such a tire just in terms of lateral and braking grip on the track..
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:17 PM   #10
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Everytime I think I have my mine made up on which wheel & tire combo, I read threads like this and have to start over. I'm in a simliar predicament, but I don't want to swap tires, just run a good street tire while I improve my skills. When I have learned a bit more and am ready for an R compound, I want to use the current setup for street/rain. Which leaves me wondering which wheel size / tire combo for my current/future street&rain setup.. I've been told by many people 15x9, but am leaning towards 15x8 or 15x7.5 with Direza Star Specs as it's easier to find street tires for them. I haven't hit up Emilio yet for a pair of 6ULs because I can't decide.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePass View Post
Tracks that I will be going to are LA area or further, so 2-4 hours of drive time. No support vehicle tagging along, and no trailer so I'll be mounting the track wheels prior to leaving and driving them up to the events. This eliminates RA1s and NT-01s, and just as well because as discussed elsewhere, I'm turning the boost way down for the track and focusing on developing my driving and having fun - and so a street tire is perfect for these goals.
Driving to the event on RA1s is unlikely to be a problem -- I used to drive between San Jose and Thunderhill on my V700s and RA1s all the time. 200 miles of freeway driving just doesn't put much wear on a tire, even an RA1. I wouldn't do it with Hoosiers, but RA1s should be fine.

If they get worn down a lot and it's raining heavily, that may be another story, but that's going to present you with an issue no matter what. Full tread depth street tires aren't made for the track, and you will rip them up running them that hard.

--Ian
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:28 PM   #12
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If I were buying one new set of street tires today for driving to and running at the track it would be the RS3s. I seriously doubt that you Kali people need to worry so much about rain that it's worth giving up that much dry grip to step down to Proxes 4s, T1Rs or some other such tripe for the majority of days that will be bone dry. I am not considering mod points in here obviously, but the suckiness of RS3s in the rain is the lesser evil compared to the suckiness of those other tires in the dry.

A few years ago I got 8s and RS2s, in fact that wasn't terribly long before RS3s hit the market so I guess my timing wasn't that great. Anyway, I have 14 dry track days on those tires and 3 rain days. In the dry, I feel that I had progressed to the point where I was consistently utilizing as much grip as they can reasonably provide by about my second or third weekend, but I've done a bunch more on them anyway because I had to spend my money on things other than R-comps and more wheels. Yeah they suck in the rain, so you slow the hell down and use it as an opportunity to practice car control and smoothness with your inputs. You will still have fun and you will still pass high-powered cars driven by people who have leased more than they can afford to buy and are suddenly afraid of the gas pedal.

FWIW, RA1s with not much tread depth (1-2/32" above wear bars) have as much or more grip in light-medium rain than many street tires have on a dry track. It's not just tread pattern and depth, rubber compound still matters in those conditions. Where the tread really comes into play is when there is heavy rain and a lot of standing water, but my experience is that you won't be doing much HPDE driving in those conditions anyway because either A) another car, probably a BMW, will crash and get your session black flagged or B) lakes remain at full track width even after the rain lets up, so track marshals deem it unsafe and shut it down for the afternoon. The latter is pretty rare.

Cliff's: Prioritize dry grip, put up with the rain if/when it ever happens.

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...a pair of 6ULs...
Your Miata requires four wheels. Hopefully this revelation doesn't put too big of a kink in your budget.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:04 PM   #13
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What about the Star Spec or RE-11 in a 205/50 size? Either might work pretty decent on an 8" rim.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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I need four wheels?! sorry, :%s/pair/set/g
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:27 PM   #15
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Couple of random points/opinions:

If you haven't read it yet, here's a good thread on why you want a little bit of a stretch on track wheels: https://www.miataturbo.net/wheels-tires-78/why-run-15x9-wheels-only-use-225-tire-49858/

I had always heard that you can't directly compare treadwear rating between manufacturers, since they aren't tested consistently. Is that a myth? Now for mod points, that's a whole different story.

Since you haven't picked up your wheels yet, would running 15x9s with R-S3s put you over on mod points? That way you can stretch the R-S3s a bit. This is what I've been running for the last two months (4 track days) and love it so far. I had Star Specs on stock wheels and these are worlds better, at least to my noob senses. Can't comment on the rain since I'm in AZ.

EDIT: Here's a magazine comparo of all the tires in question: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/top-tires/
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayL View Post
What about the Star Spec or RE-11 in a 205/50 size? Either might work pretty decent on an 8" rim.
I'm running RE11s for street/track duty, love them so far. They also seem to last a lot longer then any summer tire I've run, yet manage to outgrip them at the same time.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate99 View Post
Couple of random points/opinions:

If you haven't read it yet, here's a good thread on why you want a little bit of a stretch on track wheels: https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=49858

Since you haven't picked up your wheels yet, would running 15x9s with R-S3s put you over on mod points? That way you can stretch the R-S3s a bit. This is what I've been running for the last two months (4 track days) and love it so far. I had Star Specs on stock wheels and these are worlds better, at least to my noob senses. Can't comment on the rain since I'm in AZ.

EDIT: Here's a magazine comparo of all the tires in question: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/top-tires/
Thanks for the link.
As far as the wheel size goes, I was originally holding out for 949's new affordable 15x9 that is in the works, but I've decided that a 15x8 fits what I want more: flexibility. With the 15x9 I'm limited to the RS3 or the NT-01. The 15x8 allows me to put either the RS3 or any 205 on it, and when I do move on to an R-comp I can get RA-1s in 205/50/15 that are take-off for really cheap, OR I can find NT-01s... just so many more options.

And I don't plan to be running with the fastest guys, so I just don't think I need to go with the limiting wheel size for just that last second of lap time...
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:19 AM   #18
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You can get R888s and RA1s in 225/45-15, if/when you want to step into R-comps. I'm definitely not running with the fastest groups either, but I figured I would probably eventually regret getting anything under 9" wide...
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