Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
1/13/21 9:19 a.m.

Let’s say you’re a track day enthusiast who just wants to go fast—and also drive the car to and from the track. What tires do you fit? 

Online forums and social media outlets are full of advice, but rarely do they involve back-to-back testing showing how the options compare. Sure, lap times are important, but what about the actual driving experience? 

Time to look at a few contenders. Tire Rack calls them “Streetable Track & Competition” tires. 

Generally, these tires have treadwear ratings between 60 and 180 as well as significant void area to channel water. They fit between the traditional R-compound race tires and ever-popular 200-treadwear, extreme-performance street models. 

Some of these tires come as OE fitments on the world’s fastest production cars. Others are simply built as consumables for circuit use.

However, any time you optimize a tire for one purpose, you compromise its abilities in other areas. As with the racing slicks that they’re derived from, the rubber compounds found in these track tires are typically designed to maximize grip when warm but can be challenging when cold. 

That sticky rubber also necessitates a much more aggressive tread pattern so that the soft blocks don’t come apart under track loading. Unfortunately, that shallow, chunky design won’t resist hydroplaning at very high speeds. Still, these tires will get you home should a sudden rainstorm pop up on the transit—again, they’re tweeners. 

While not as clearly defined as the 200-treadwear segment, this group is now getting attention from certain motorsports sanctioning bodies. In particular, #Gridlife’s TrackBattle series specifies 60 treadwear as the minimum for its Track Modified class. SCCA Time Trials has also proposed allowing any OE tires, regardless of treadwear, in its Max category for cars that are mostly stock.

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Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 9:31 a.m.

Strong praise for the Goodyear! 

Cool tire test article, as they always are!

Tom1200 SuperDork
1/14/21 9:50 a.m.

I was actually considering some Nankangs for the Datsun as the price is hard to ignore when compared to my usual Hoosiers but the article is making me rethink that. Not so much the slower lap times but the characteristics. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/15/21 1:41 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

The Nankangs intrigue me--intrigue me a lot--as a track day tire that can handle a lot of laps. That is my reality. Give me a track tire for lots of track day laps. I believe it comes in some wide 15, too, which also works for me. 

(Also, that F40 on their site might be the coolest thing ever.)

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/15/21 3:00 p.m.

These guys seem to like them for their 'ring rental fleet - They talk about them favorably on their Youtube channels Misha  Robert

They make a few sizes of the AR-1 for 16" wheels (what I run on the E28) and they're cheaper than most of the 200 tw options at that size, it's just not clear if they'll come back in stock in Canada (but I'll keep checking through the spring).

Tom1200 SuperDork
1/15/21 4:07 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Wide 15s????? none of that for'll be 175/60-13s for the Datsun (same tread width as the Hoosiers I run now).

It would be a mostly track day tire for me as my 87 Novakar F500 appears to be the car I will be vintage racing for the next few seasons. In the event the Novakar has an issue then the little Datsun will be my back up.

So yes they intrigued me as well.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/18/21 5:50 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Well, wide 15s for me. But very cool to see that they offer down to a 13. 

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