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Track day or road rubber on standard car?

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PJ_Parsons
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Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by PJ_Parsons » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:12 pm

I've been tracking my RX8, for several years. It has a standard suspension setup and the only modifications are track day pads and dot 4 brake fluid. I 've been running on Vredestein Ultra Sessanta tyres, getting 800ish track miles out of them. They are good on and off track. For me, track days have always been about improving my driving rather that constantly upgrading the car. However, as the Ultra Sessantas are becoming hard to find and more expensive I'm looking towards what might be my next set of tyres.

I've considered the later Ultrac Vorti rubber, but am not sure how good this is as a road and track tyre. I'm also looking at the Nankang and Federal track day specific tyres. I have no first hand experience of track day tyres and am curious about there durability, speed and ability to handle cold and maybe wet track days. I do have have a spare set of rims to mount them on, but do remember that my car is just standard, not a hot rod.

So, what tyres are people running on track these days?

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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by SeriousSam » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:26 pm

I run two sets of wheels, one for road and one for track. My track wheels currently run on road tyres, specifically Bridgestone RE050, but they are now too old and don't last long enough for my liking on track. I'll be running one more day with those tyres before I throw them away and replace with a set of Nankang NS2-R or AR-1, not sure which yet - mainly because my local tyre guys are Nankang dealers, so they give me good rates.

Semi-slicks like the popular Federal and Nankang ones are great in the dry, but they don't have the same water dispersion abilities as a decent road tyre, so in the wet on the road they'll be hairy. In the wet on track, they'll be very hairy. On cold track days they'll fare better so long as it's dry - you just need to get some heat into them before you can push them to their limits. Cold road driving won't get any heat into them at all, so you'll need to be careful there as well.

Quite a few of the track day regulars on here will just run regular road tyres on wet track days and have the semi-slicks ready for when it dries out. Unless you're driving at the very limits all the time, you won't put too much wear on your road tyres by running them on a wet track day, so that's an option as well.
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by benedwards64 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:35 pm

SeriousSam wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:26 pm
Semi-slicks like the popular Federal and Nankang ones are great in the dry, but they don't have the same water dispersion abilities as a decent road tyre, so in the wet on the road they'll be hairy. In the wet on track, they'll be very hairy.
This isn't generally true in my experience.... unless there's truly biblical standing water on track I've found Toyo R888s and R888Rs significantly quicker than premium brand 'road' tyres (Michelin Pilot Sports for example). Having said that, I also used a set of 4-year-old Federal 595RSRs on a cold wet track at Silverstone and they were horrendous :xmaslol:
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by PJ_Parsons » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:37 pm

Interesting to hear that the track rubber is poor in the wet. I'm only luke warm on bringing an additional set of rims and tyres to the track, but could. R888's are not cheap though. Due to cost, most of my track days are in the winter and are likely to be damp at best, so I may well stick with the road tyres. Ultra Sessantas were the answer to all questions for me, but now that they are becoming hard to get, what would be a good road tyre to use on track?
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by Dr. FrankenRex » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:45 pm

I ran NS2-Rs at the Blyton Sprint day in the wet and they weren't very quick... That said, I did need a new rear wishbone at the time, so... :D
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by mrspiller » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:43 pm

There’s a big difference between damp driving conditions and standing water on a track - I found the r888’s on a very wet donington circuit ok , not brilliant but ok . When it was damp ( drying up ) they were brilliant compared to road tyres


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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by PeteH » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:09 pm

As with most things tyre related, it depends!

It depends on the track texture (Cadwell is good, Snetterton is bad, for instance). It depends on the tyre itself (I know Pirelli Troffeo Rs are mostly excellent in damp conditions, as long as it's warm enough). It depends on the combination of dampness, puddle depth, and temperature. And it depends on how you drive. If you don't feel confident to push the tyre hard in the damp then you will never make it work.

But no semi-slick is going to work when the puddle depth exceeds a couple of millimeters, and they will all aquaplane earlier than road tyre will.

In track conditions a semi-slick will significantly out-last a road tyre. On the road the reverse is true.
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by SeanP » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:25 pm

Vorti is just as good as Sessanta as a road tyre - and "as capable" on track.

However, for track I have chosen to use Federal 595 RSR (and there are plenty of others available), and on 18" S1 rims.

On a dry day - with temperature in the tyres there is a HUGE difference to the production tyres; but they're much worse in damp / wet and cold conditions. Hence like others here - I maintain two sets of rims and tyres.. Wet / Road & dry track oriented. :)
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by 13Black » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:30 pm

Haven't even read the OP, but track rubber.
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by casey » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:38 pm

Like you, I absolutely loved the Sessantas and went through 3 sets on road and track in the early years with my RX-8. They were a great, VFM "compromise, all round" tyre. However, it got to the stage on track where I wanted more grip and opted for the 595RSR's and they are a revelation in the dry, worth an extra 3-5 seconds around the 60 second Brands Hatch circuit. If you've never driven on semis, you are in for a real treat in the dry! I've tried the Nankang NS2R, but prefer the 595's and, at around £80 a corner, they are hard to beat if you need a simple "track upgrade".

As stated above, when there is standing water the 595's are hairy, but in the damp, with 3+mm of tread depth I'd say they are a fair match for the Sessantas. I've got anything from 6-12 trackdays out of a set (the 12 being achieved by stripping and reversing tyres as it's the outside shoulders that wear most, so worth the £40 fitting charge). That includes a few thousand road miles too, as I usually drive to the track on my tyre of choice. I have a spare set of rims with road tyres that I will use if it's going to be wet on a trackday. I do sometimes take my spare set of wheels to tracks on the back seat when the weather has been uncertain, but I try to avoid doing that if possible!
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by Jimwil » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:58 pm

Done a few track days over the last couple of years. I ended up using Michelin pilot supersport 245/40r18 for the road and for wet track conditions. They have been great on track and fantastic on the road with plenty of rim protection at that size.
In dry conditions I ended up using toyo r888's 225/40r18
These tyres were next level on grip and feel on track and i was so glad I went for them in the end. Was a little concerned because they were the old one's but they were still fantastic.
I personally wouldn't use semi slicks in wet or greasy conditions so took 2 sets of wheels with me to make the change if necessary.

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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by PJ_Parsons » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:38 pm

Thanks for the interest in my questions everyone. Well, by the sounds of it the Ultrac Vorti tyres are the next ones to go on the car and seem to be good for use on the track too. I have found that as I've got faster on track I have been punishing the Ultra Sessantas in the dry. I think times have moved on a bit for me and it's time to give the semi slicks a go. The Federals seem like good value but I have read that they crack up pretty easily; maybe they have got better in recent production?

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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by V8 Power » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:44 am

I have Federal 595's on my track car and no cracking in about 6 track days.
I also leave them on for driving too and from the track and they are fine. Used in wet weather you just have to be careful of standing water and get a bit of heat in them before pushing on.
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by casey » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:20 am

I've read about and seen pictures of the cracking. It was happening across the tyre where the segments which make up the tyre were "welded" together during manufacturing. I've had 5 sets and not seen this problem , so maybe a batch issue? You can see the segments on the tyre if you look carefully and sometimes make out a line between the segments, but it's not an issue, just a part of how they are made.
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Re: Track day or road rubber on standard car?

Post by warpc0il » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:58 am

<nostalgia mode> I remember when all tyres were hand made and you could often see the seam where the tread band was wrapped around and joined together.</nm>

Didn't know they still used a similar process today, other than on F1 tyres and the like.
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