Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/20/19 6:05 a.m.

Bottom Line: I'm struggling to get my Bridgestone RE71Rs up to optimal temperature in a Hillclimb and single lap sprint format, especially in colder temperatures.

Looking for a streetable tire that balances: 
- cold and hot grip, 
- warm-up time, and 
- wet / rain capability.


I'm running a 2005 Mazda RX-8, about 2920 pounds with driver, in SCCA Hillclimbing, class DSP.  I also use it for local autocrosses, and in the prior 3 years it was used for HPDE and NASA/SCCA Time Trials.  But this season i wanted to try something different: Hillclimbs.

I am currently running 255/40/17 Bridgestone RE71R.  I bought them "new" from discount tire direct at the start of the 2019 season, but they were mid-2017 date codes.  I've done 2 track sprints, 6 hillclimbs, and about 6 autocrosses on them.  Still have plenty of tread, which is nice (and surprising?).  However, at the last hillclimb, with temperatures in the 70s and a tree-shaded mountain road, i wasn't able to get enough heat into the Bridgestones.  I know, the autocross guys are thinking i'm crazy.  But hear me out: at hillclimbs, i seem to build maybe even less heat in tires than autocross, because you're not turning as much (much more time spent accelerating), and you only get a single run and then cool-down for an hour.  At least at autocross you're slaloming and scrubbing and having 3 runs somewhat back-to-back to build temps.  

Almost all of the other folks are running Hoosier A7, BFG R1S, and other DOT legal autocross compound slicks.  However, those folks are trailering their cars; i street drive my car to-and-from events.  With the rollbar, i can no longer fit tires in the back seat, and i do not want to pull a tire trailer (i have no place to put it).  So i street drive my "race" tires.

SO: I'm looking for a tire i can drive to-and-from events, that has a faster warm-up time than the Bridgestone RE71R, that has as much dry grip as possible while being capable of wet / rain racing.  Tall ask, i know.  I'll never have the stick of the slick guys, but at least i don't have to change tires when it rains or comes time to drive home.

I need to emphasize that it doesn't matter whether the RE71R is faster than a given tire with some heat and warm-up... if my conditions don't allow me to get the RE71Rs hot enough, it's not the best choice.  I'm looking at tires that will maximize the AVERAGE grip over a short run, with no warm-up.  It's possible my RE71Rs are too old calendar-wise and maybe heat cycled, because if i DO get runs close enough to retain some heat, i can feel i have more grip (substantiated by better runtimes ).

The requirements lead me to a short list of ideas for next season:

- Toyo R1R.  This one has me thinking, hence the title of the post.  Sure, it's undeniably anchient and outdated... but it works very well in rain and wet, and i believe it's very soft- it should have less heat up time than the RE71R, even if it doesn't build as much grip once heated.  Basically, predictable grip from turn 1, while less grip than RE71R for the final few turns, but overall more average grip over the length of the run, and more predictable for the first few corners.

- Skinnier RE71R.  With less contact patch and less rubber, it will heat more quickly and produce more average grip.

- Toyo R888R.  Lots of folks in UK using for hillclimb and one lap sprints, and a friend who does time attack locally, says they have great grip from dead cold and have speed comparable to the RE71R.

Tires that i don't think qualify

- Conti ECS and MPSS / PS4.  Just not enough dry grip.  i have the contis and love their streetability, wet grip, predictability, and immediate cold grip... but i'm not sure they'd be competitive on a dry hill, even against a cold RE71R.

- BFG Rival S and Yokohama A052 or any other 200TW autocross tire, for the same reasons the RE71R isn't working well for me at the moment.  They're designed to give good grip after a few runs, not neccessarily on run 1.

To give you an idea of what our Hillclimbs and Track Sprints look like, check out the videos in the playlist below:

At the Summit Jefferson Circuit, we get a warm-up lap followed by two flying laps... the RE71Rs always get to temp.

At the Summit Shenandoah Circuit, we launch from a standstill with zero warm-up for one lap.  The RE71Rs barely get to temp.

At the Hillclimbs, especially in cooler temperatures, the RE71Rs never feel "sticky" like they do after a few circuit laps or after three autocross runs.

triumph7 Reader
9/20/19 7:13 a.m.

How long does the car sit from the time you arrive til you get to run?  Maybe try some tire blankets that you put on as soon as you arrive to help keep some core temperature.

pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/20/19 8:03 a.m.

The rumor is that the new Yokohamas have better longitudinal grip than then RE71s though they give up some lateral grip. They also do OK in the wet.

Tire Rack Test

Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/20/19 8:08 a.m.
triumph7 said:

How long does the car sit from the time you arrive til you get to run?  Maybe try some tire blankets that you put on as soon as you arrive to help keep some core temperature.

About an hour, sometimes more when people have issues.  I use the brakes and slalom on the downhill return to try to build heat for the sitting...

Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/20/19 8:13 a.m.
pinchvalve said:

The rumor is that the new Yokohamas have better longitudinal grip than then RE71s though they give up some lateral grip. They also do OK in the wet.

Tire Rack Test

I was very interested in the new Yokohama, but I'd like to get some feedback on how it works cold and how quickly it builds heat

dps214 Reader
9/20/19 9:05 a.m.

So far pretty much everyone has said the yokos work great cold.

I'd be willing to bet that fully heated up R1Rs are still slower than not quite warm RE71Rs.

Donebrokeit SuperDork
9/20/19 9:16 a.m.

Matt, the 888 are a good tire for the hills. Quite a number of cars are running them including myself. The 888 come up to temperature quick even on the Saturday runs i was doing okay with tire temps.


The only bad thing about the 888 is they are not very good in the rain, but most sticky tires are not good in the rain.



Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/22/19 4:06 p.m.

One of my competitors this weekend at the autocross felt my tires after my first afternoon run and remarked that they were uncharacteristically hard and un-sticky for re71rs.  But my third run came quickly,  and grip was great,  they felt softer and legitimately sticky to the touch.   So he thinks they are heat cycled out.   Autocross generally heat cycles tired twice a weekend, whereas a two day hillclimb great cycles tired at least 8 times,  so maybe that's playing a factor here. 

Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/25/19 6:14 a.m.

I guess I shouldn't discount the nankang ar1.  At least for dry events, it sounds like a good choice

maj75 HalfDork
9/25/19 7:39 a.m.

Tire warmers?

captdownshift GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/25/19 8:13 a.m.

In reply to Matt Huffman :

I came to suggest the Nankangs. Talk to the crew at Phil's about them, they're really impressive. Also, the sweet spot may be the newer 200TW Nankangs and not the AR1s. They're the new hot pick for crapcan Enduro teams as well, so if you try them for 2020 and like the grip levels after a few heat cycles and as they're towards the back end of their threadlife, you may be able to find take offs that wouldn't be worth running an extended stint in an Enduro race for stupid cheap by the time you find yourself in need of replacement the next go around. 

Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
9/25/19 8:14 a.m.
maj75 said:

Tire warmers?

Yeah, I can look into practicality and legality.

Matt Huffman
Matt Huffman New Reader
6/27/20 9:16 a.m.

UPDATE... had my first event of 2020, a trackcross / circuit sprint at the summit point jefferson circuit.  It's a standing start time trial / time attack held on a full size circuit.  Bottom line, i am running "fresh" RE71Rs with a mid-2018 date code (discount tire direct...) and they hook up from turn 1.  So... it seems that the type of tires wasn't the issue, it was the age and heat cycles.  After additional research, the RE71Rs do seem to fall off considerably due to heat cycles (like all/most?) race tires, and take a lot longer towards end of life to reach temperature and grip.

So... bottom line... buy fresh rubber if you want to be competitive.  RE71R are just fine when in their competitive condition.  They were fast enough for an outright FTD at this event.


captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/27/20 10:44 a.m.

Nothing makes me feel old like not recognizing the "new" portion of the Jefferson, then feeling like home when you get to the original section. 

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