Your Tests: Vredestein Ultrac Vorti Tires on a Nissan GT-R

Vredestein knows that Grassroots Motorsports knows a thing or two about performance tires. And they know that our readers do, too. That’s why they came to us with a simple request: Find five readers worthy of a set of Vredestein’s latest performance tires, their Ultrac Vorti and Ultrac Vorti R. Over the next six months, you’ll be seeing these readers’ feedback in the form of regular blog posts on our site.


Story and Photos by Peter Doane

I was very surprised when I got the email from GRM saying that I had been chosen as one of the Vredestein Tire Testers, but also very pleased because I track my 2014 Nissan GT-R about once a month in the summer, and the car’s heavy weight uses up tires and brakes quickly.

The Vredesteins (255/40-20 for the front and 285/35-20 for the rear) arrived just about 2 weeks after I got the notice.

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Which was perfect timing, because it was two days before the track event I had scheduled at New Jersey Motorsports Park on the Thunderbolt circuit. I could tell by the way Band 1 and 2 of the tread pattern were wider than Bands 3 and 4 (see image below) that Band 1 would be the outer edge; the big “INNER” lettering on the other sidewall confirmed my suspicions. I was happy they were not directional (designed for rotation just one way).

That allows me to swap them side-to-side very easily between events and even out the wear a bit better without the cost or hassle of having them dismounted and then swapped on the rims.

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My tire shop handled the mounting and balancing the day before my track event.

While Nissan encourages GT-R owners to keep using nitrogen in the tires (they come from the factory that way), it’s too hard to adjust pressures at the track with nitrogen. I’ve also had no problems with irregular pressure increases from any water vapor in the compressed air I’ve used with the non-run-flat tires that I switched to after wearing out the OEM run-flat tires.

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I set the cold pressures to the factory-suggested 30.5 psi at the front and 29 psi at the back. Once I got to the track, I also crayoned the tread-sidewall transition so I could tell how much the sidewalls were rolling in the corners. My group was first out onto the track, and the ambient temperature was still a bit cool.

I decided to take an extra lap or two to warm everything up and get used to tires with 320 treadwear (compared to 200 and 220 before), but one car dumped oil through three corners, which ended the 15-minute session early for the clean-up. I was surprised at how much roll I got on the sidewalls from a short, not terribly fast first session.

I also couldn’t tell whether Vredestein intended the sidewall to roll as it did all the way to point B (as shown above) or farther up at point A. Some tires have a little arrow molded into the rubber marking the end of the tread. The Vredesteins had a little VR mark at Point B and the line all the way around, but it wasn’t obvious that it was marking the end of the tread and seemed farther down the sidewall than I was used to.

To play it a little safe, I added another pressure to both fronts. The roll was not as great on the back–just above the B mark. When I finally got a full session in with ambient temperatures up a bit more, I was very pleased with the way these tires felt on the track. I could tell there wasn’t as much grip, but I expected that with 100 more treadwear points. The tires were very responsive and when they did start to lose grip, it was very predictable.

When I pushed it a bit too much in the slower corners, they shuddered. The Pirellis (220 treadwear) I had on the car just before also did that. The OEM Dunlop run-flats and the Bridgestones (both 200 treadwear) I used before the Pirellis did not. Like the Pirellis, the Vredesteins also screeched under heavy braking (w/o ABS activated), but not as much. The noise under high-g cornering was a bit louder, but that wasn’t a surprise. Top speed at the end of the straight was down 5 mph. Even though the GT-R has a built-in lap timer, I never use it, so the top speed was my only lap comparison. The other high-powered cars with their racing tires are always a bit surprised by how well I can keep up with street tires; this time their eyebrows really went up when I told them these were 320 treadwear street tires. I did check the hot pressures with the car’s pressure display window, but didn’t write them down.

After every track day, I remove the wheels in order to thoroughly clean them. That way the brake dust doesn’t build up and I can check for any signs of cracking. I also blow all the brake dust off/out of the rotors & calipers and wipe the rotors with Brakleen to slow the pad build-up as much as possible.

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This time I also took the time to take some pictures and measure the tread. Not unexpectedly, the left-front tire took the most abuse on the clockwise track; there was quite a bit of graining on the outer edge. None of the other tires I’ve tracked have shown/done that so badly.

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As I experienced with all the tires I’ve tracked (except the Dunlop run-flats), there was also much heavier wear on the outer edge of Band 2. I have been told that is a sign that I’m running too much pressure, but that doesn’t correlate with the tire crayon evidence. The outer edges of Bands 2-4 also showed some graining.

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The right front was a bit better after the track experience, while the rears were in remarkably good shape.

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Comments
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nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
10/26/18 9:54 a.m.

Excellent documentation.  I'm curious to see how the tires look after a few days of street driving.

spacecadet
spacecadet Reader
10/26/18 4:31 p.m.

I had wondered what became of this, great review! The amount of center rib wear is crazy to me. Looks like these will be another solid summer tire choice for spiritited road driving and maybe an occasional track day. I'm very curious to see how they do on a much lighter car.  

 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
10/26/18 8:36 p.m.

Yes, awesome write up. Vredestein got their moneys worth with you, Thanks.

Toebra
Toebra Dork
10/28/18 7:36 p.m.

Thank you for the clarity in your reporting.   

 

I think the 200 tire is liable to have a stiffer sidewall than the 300.  It may be that tracking a heavy, powerful car is just too much for them.  You air them up enough that they won't roll, it is over inflated and screws with the foot print of the tread.  

 

Do you remember how the weather was for your track day?  Was it particularly hot or cool?  Is your car modified?  How much actual track time do those excellent, high contrast photographs represent?

Harvey
Harvey SuperDork
10/28/18 10:09 p.m.

Does the car normally beat up on the fronts like that with the other tires you’ve used? Is the alignment stock?

PDoane
PDoane New Reader
10/29/18 6:27 a.m.

Other than adding a tranny cooler and upgrading the FWD shaft lock, the car is a stock Track Edition.  That does bring with it a slightly lower weight, better brake cooling, and slightly more aggressive suspensions settings.  I run OEM alignment settings and it had been checked/re-set just a month before this track day.

The wear you see in the pictures is from five 15 minute sessions on the Thunderbolt track at NJMP.  The weather was cool (in the 50s) in the morning but got up to the mid 70s by the end of the day.  There was very little cloud cover.  The Lightning track is even harder on the LF tire. 

It is not the worst track day wear I've seen.  The Bridgestone RE71 fronts wore out completely within 2 track days.  Since the rears were OK, I just got another set of fronts and swapped them on the rims between track days.  The OEM Dunlop run-flats were the best for wear and lasted for 4 track days.  If the Pirellis hadn't gotten one bad blister they might have lasted longer.  I have checked with Tire Rack about having them heat cycle a set of street tires before shipping them (like they do for racing tires) and they will do it so I'm thinking that might help with wear/longevity without sacrificing grip.  I'm certainly not going to waste a whole track day for one heat cycle so they can cure afterwards and nothing on the street can heat them up like track use.

The GT-R is just really heavy (3890 lbs) so I doubt there are any tires that can deal with that much weight on the track w/o wearing relatively quickly.  I did swap the Vredesteins left-to-right after the clean-up and photo session, so next track day (maybe 2 Nov) the other front tire will see the most abuse.

PDoane
PDoane New Reader
10/29/18 7:16 a.m.

Dunlops fronts after 4 track days

PDoane
PDoane New Reader
10/29/18 7:17 a.m.

Bridgestone fronts after 2 track days

PDoane
PDoane New Reader
10/29/18 7:21 a.m.

Pirelli blister after 4 track days

Harvey
Harvey SuperDork
10/29/18 7:44 a.m.

The Bridgestone RE71R are autocross tires and will overheat just doing back to back single driver autocross runs so I’m not surprised two track days on that car killed them.

What are these Vredestein tires supposed to be? Max or Ultra High summers? Also did you get the R version or the regular one?

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
10/29/18 7:44 a.m.
PDoane said:  I have checked with Tire Rack about having them heat cycle a set of street tires before shipping them (like they do for racing tires) and they will do it so I'm thinking that might help with wear/longevity without sacrificing grip.  I'm certainly not going to waste a whole track day for one heat cycle so they can cure afterwards and nothing on the street can heat them up like track use.

I got interesting questions asking for it, but they heat cycled some street tires for me once. We were only running street tires due to size issues on our stock rims. We went from killing a front tire in 8 hours to barely stretching out 14.5 but that is very worth it and all without us having to heat cycle them. I drove to the track on crappy old tires, swapped on the heat cycled tires, and raced for 2 days. Much cheaper to pay for heat cycling than to pay for a test session to heat cycle.

PDoane
PDoane New Reader
10/29/18 9:11 a.m.

They were Ultrac Vorti, not the Ultrac Vorti R.  The Rs didn't come in the OEM sizes.  The Vredestein website doesn't give a "Performance rating" like Max or Ultra High.  It does say

"Powerful cars equipped with the Ultrac Vorti enjoy a high level of steering precision, grip and safety while driving at high speeds"

and they do have a "Y" speed rating

 

HapDL
HapDL New Reader
10/29/18 7:38 p.m.

I have Vorti Rs on my 16 Mustang, have done 6 track days with them and they are wearing very well, no weirdness at all.  I find you can easily overheat the fronts if you screw up a couple of corners in a row with overly aggressive entry, they like to be kept hooked up.  But I'm very happy with them.  Now I just wish I could find more, they're almost invisible up here these days.

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