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Christina Lam went from the sidelines to full-on track enthusiast in 8 simple steps.
Thinking ahead to spring, if it ever arrives [peeks out window at snow falling], I would like to replace the wheels and tires on my '07 Speed3. I don't like the stock setup at all: too heavy (24.5lb each!), too narrow (7"), kind of ugly, and the tires aren't that great. I already have wheels picked out (TSW Nurburgring 18x8.5", +45ET, 19.5lb each), but I need tire advice.
I am looking for a 235/40/18 summer tire with better dry grip than the stock Bridgestone Potenza RE050s, decent wet traction, and decent treadlife. Noise/ride comfort aren't huge concerns since I mainly drive alone. This will be mostly daily-driving though I may attend an autocross or two in the Speed3 for fun this year. I had Dunlop Direzza D1 Star Specs on my N/A RX-7 and they were great tires with loads of grip and were pretty good in the rain. Another site I go to had high marks for the Nitto NT05. Any other tire suggestions, or wheel/tire setup suggestions?
RX-8's look great personally, you can easily fit a 235/40/5 18 on it.
EDIT: Did not see you all ready found the rims you wanted. You have to ask yourself how competitive do you want to be and how much are you willing to spend.
I had similar parameters for my 02 Spec V in a 225/45r17. The Tirerack recommended the Sumitomo HTR Z III. I haven't owned a set of Potenza's myself before, but I did a fair amount of research before buying and there were several former Potenza owners (mostly coming from OEM tires) who reported improved grip. I noticed very impressive overall grip for a street tire. I'm assuming they are a 1/2 step below the Star Spec's of the world, but they are also fantastic in the rain for a high performance summer tire (At an autocross this summer that started dry and ended in a downpour, I actually turned in my fastest time in the rain). They are reasonably tolerant of temperature changes for a summer tire. I've also found the wear to be pretty decent. I've got a full summer (probably about 6000 miles), 1/2 dozen "regular" autocrosses and a track day style high speed autocross on them. Unless they suddenly go downhill, I'd say I've got at least 50% life left in them.
Can't beat them for price. Your size is $123/tire from Tirerack and they will occasionally have specials for up to $20/tire off. Mine came in under $100/tire. Oh, and a big thumbs up on your wheel choice.
Almost forgot about this thread! Sorry for the late replies!
JtspellS: The TSW setup is mainly for DD duty and to get a wider tire onto the car, so I'm not really looking to be competitive. 19.5lb is decent for an 18x8.5" wheel (it's actually 1/2lb lighter than the RX-8 5-spoke 18x8", if my sources are correct) and the price isn't bad.
kazoospec: Looks like the Sumis have good reviews on Tire Rack when applied to Mazdas. They're lighter than the Dunlops and the same weight as the Nittos, too. Thanks for the suggestion!
I know a lot of people with the MS3 are running the dunlops and are happy with them, i guess that would be your best bet.
Aside from that i would like to try these http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Kumho&tireModel=Ecsta+XS&partnum=34WR8EXSXL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes
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