Tyres

Tyres are the interface between car and track and, besides brakes, the most important thing on a car.

Tyre types

I differentiate between four different tyre types that can be considered suitable for a tracktool:

  1. Standard summer tyres. The best choice for the wet and a decent choice for a car that is mostly used on the road. Less grip on the track than other options, but usually more predictable, too. E.g. Continental PremiumContact 4, Michelin Pilot Sport 4, Pirelli P Zero, Bridgestone Turanza.
  2. Ultra high performance tyres. These are summer tyres geared towards high performance cars, often with higher speed indexes. Often quite expensive. E.g. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, Pirelli P Zero Rosso, Bridgestone Potenza, Conti SportContact 6, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx.
  3. What I would call “track day tyres”. Less grooves, softer compound. Much increased grip on dry roads at the cost of reduced wet grip. A good choice in my opinion for track use. E.g. Michelin Pilot Cup 2, Pirelli Zero Corsa, Dunlop Sport Maxx Race 2.
  4. Semi slicks. These have the minimum amount of grooves required for road legality (17%) and even softer compound. Great grip in the dry, terrible in the wet. Not suitable for daily use. E.g. Dunlop Direzza, Pirelli Trofeo Race, Toyo Proxes R888. Probably not available at your standard tyre dealer as these are developed for motorsports use.

Recommendations

Get a good brand. Stay away from Energy Saver and especially Run Flat tyres. On single-use track car, I would go for track day tyres. On a dual-use car, I would highly recommend getting a second set of wheels, with a set of summer tyres for the road and wet conditions, and track day tyres for the track. Semi slicks are in my opinion best suited for competition use where road legality is required, i.e. rally’s. Racing on circuits uses completely slick tyres.

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