David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/22/11 11:27 a.m.

We ask a lot of our tires. They need to be fast and not cost a lot. Or they need to be able to brave snow yet not generate too much noise.

Our 1992 Mazda Miata needed new shoes, and we had multiple demands. We wanted a tire that would deliver excellent dry-weather performance yet could also handle some street miles.

That last requirement ruled out many of today's R-compound, DOT-approved race tires. Yes, they do carry the DOT seal of approval, but they're generally not really designed for street use. Plus, they typically lack enough tread to handle unexpected downpours.

However, the Nitto NT01 is a race tire that hasn't totally dismissed its street roots. When run at full tread depth, it sports something close to a real tread. Plus, it's quieter than you'd expect.

Is it sticky? Definitely sticky enough for street use. We have also found it more than capable at local autocrosses. And at a track day, it delivers consistent laps all day long.

We have run these tires on the Miata before and been extremely happy, so we ordered another set. The size is again 205/50R15. When you find a great solution, sometimes it pays to stick with it.

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