Jul 15, 2010 update to the Mazda Miata Turbo project car

New Shoes for a Long Trip

Yokohamas look good between the tiger teeth.
Using a set of genuine street tires has also given us a good excuse to borrow Per's tire trailer.

Our turbocharged Miata project continues to make us smile every time we slide into the seat. The car is equally suited to hardcore competition and commuter duty, and it rarely leaves us wanting more.

Since it came into our lives, the car has spent most of its time on R-compound tires. The super-soft rubber makes this car an autocross terror, and the warm Florida climate rarely challenges our tire selection.

However, long trips always make us cringe—not because we don’t think the car or the tires are up to the task, but because every mile sounds like a cash register ringing up a substantial bill to re-tire the car thanks to those same ultra-grippy tires.

As we began planning for the 4600-plus-mile trek to Grand Junction, Colorado, we decided it was time to change our plan and install something better suited to a long trip into unknown conditions. As much as we’ve enjoyed the ridiculous grip levels afforded by our competition-focused rolling stock, our recent street vs. race tire comparison highlighted the fact that we could get 90 percent of the performance of an R-compound tire by choosing the right ultra high-performance street tire. Better yet, a good UHP street tire would offer a much longer service life, doubling or even tripling the distance that R-comps could cover.

To this end, we elected to try Yokohama’s new Advan AD08 in a 205/50R15 size. The tire showed very strong performance in our most recent Street Touring tire test article, and we’re told we can expect solid and consistent performance for many thousands of miles in a variety of conditions. We mounted the new tires on a set of Konig wheels from the old Honda Civic Si project car. The Konigs aren’t new, but they’re pretty lightweight and in good shape. We’re glad to put them back into service.

So far, we’re really happy with the performance of the Yokohamas. They provide more than enough grip for street duty, and we even noticed a slight improvement in fuel economy as a result of a smaller contact patch and less rolling resistance.

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