Aug 13, 2019 update to the Honda Civic Si Coupe project car

Project Civic Si: Talking About Track Tires

Did you hear the one about the all-season, original equipment Goodyears that performed quite well on track? If so, that might have been us.

Our 2019 Honda Civic Si came from the factory wearing Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season tires. Treadwear is 560. Honda no longer offers a summer tire option for this model, so you get what you get.

We found those tires to do well on the track. The limits weren’t up there with a 200tw model, but we found the Goodyears to deliver consistent and predictable handling. During our 20-minute Track Night in America sessions, they didn’t get greasy or fall on their faces. They held up rather well. Color us surprised.

They aged well, too. After four events, we measured 9/32nd of an inch of tread all around. That’s just 1/32nd of wear. Feathering was very, very mild. Considering we pushed these tires harder than intended, we’d give them high marks.

Even after several track outings, the OE Goodyears still looked okay–barely any feathering or other weirdness present.

But, of course, we wanted more: more grip, to be precise. Sharper turn-in would be nice, too.

Many track events, Track Night in America included, don’t have tire restrictions. “Provided the tires are track-worthy, we don’t disallow based on performance,” explains Heyward Wagner Senior Director of Marketing and Experiential Programs at the SCCA. “A lot of people burn up Spec Miata tires, etc., at Track Night in America.”

We didn’t need R-comps, yet we wanted something trackable, so we honed-in on the popular 200-treadwear class. We figured these would be perfect for track yet also totally fine for getting us there.

There are several choices in this class, and we picked the popular Falken Azenis RT615K+. Why this one? It provides predictable, stable laps. Falken, like GRM, also supports Track in America Driven by Tire Rack.

Last year we tested this tire with Tom O’Gorman, World Challenge and Solo champion. From our report on that outing:

Next, Tom went out on the Falken. He found it to be more predictable than the ZIII with less drama near the limit. The Falken was also talkative and ran at a medium slip angle, although peak grip was lower than with either of the Dunlops. Lap times were six-tenths slower than the ZII Star Spec’s baseline round: 34.30 versus 33.71.”

For track events, “less drama” is a good thing in our book. Another attribute: The Azenis RT615K+ is the least expensive 200tw tire in the Tire Rack catalog in our size.

So, what size?

First, our OE Goodyears:

235/40R18

Tread width: 8 inches

Outside diameter: 25.4 inches

Weight: 23 pounds

And then the Azenis RT615K+.

245/45R17

Tread width: 8.9 inches

Outside diameter: 25.6 inches

Weight: 27 pounds

Tire Rack price: $151.50

245/40R18

Tread width: 8.9 inches

Outside diameter: 25.6 inches

Weight: 27 pounds

Tire Rack price: $181.25

Outside of price, looks like a bit of a toss-up.

So we looked further at the next part of the equations: wheels. True, we could have kept the O.E. alloys but, well, come on. We still need to weigh ours, but word on the street says that they’re about 28 pounds each.

The Tire Rack lists more than 500 different wheels for our car. We checked out the TRMotorsports C4, a low-pressure cast wheel that’s a good bang for the buck. We ran these wheels on our BRZ and came away happy: timeless looks and a solid value concerning price and weight.

The 17x8-inch version in light grey weighs 19.3 pounds each. The 18x8-inch model checks in at 20.1 pounds. (Note that the black version weighs a few ounces more; check the Tire Rack site for details.)

Tire Rack retails the 17-inch version for $154.53 each; the 18s go for $172.90. In round numbers, we were looking at $1220 for a set of 17-inch tires and wheels and $1412 for the 18s.

Both tires offer the same footprint, we figured, so we asked for a second option–meaning picking up the phone and talking to someone who knows a lot about tires. A lot.

That someone was Woody Rogers, Director of Tire Information at the Tire Rack. He’s the guy who oversees their testing and teaches their in-house staff. He’s also a regular top finisher at the Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals. And he’s nice.

He suggested that we compare some offset numbers:

Stock 18x8-inch alloys: 50mm

TRMotorsports 17x8-inch: 40mm

TRMotorsports 18x8-inch: 35mm or 45mm

Short answer: Compared to the 17s, the aftermarket 18s would widen our car’s track by 10mm if we opted for the 35mm wheels.

Final answer: The 18s are a tad heavier than the 17s, he admitted, but they also offer sharper response due to the shorter sidewalls while offering a wider track. In the end, he recommended the 18s over the 17s.

So we ordered a set. In the end, this gave us a wider, stickier tire that would be more suited for track use. The stock Goodyears did fine, but we could do better.

In true Tire Rack fashion, the new tires and wheels arrived the next day, mounted, balanced and complete with lugs and necessary centering rings.

Moving to the Falkens gave our Civic a wider, stickier, more responsive footprint.

We installed the new tires and wheels before our return to Daytona. The tires did everything asked: They remained cool and composed. They didn’t lose composure towards the end of our sessions. Communication was consistent. Braking felt confident and sure.

Our sessions were run on a dry track, but we have encountered some liquid sunshine since that evening and found the Falkens to do well. The Falkens ride a little rougher than the OE Goodyears, but that’s an expected tradeoff.

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Comments
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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/13/19 10:08 a.m.

So, wanna hear about editorial multi-tasking? The lead photo was taken in the Daytona infield during JG's Time Trial session. After helping him on grid, I drove over to the International Horseshoe bleachers: parked the car, swapped lenses, and ran to the top of the bleachers just in time to get on-track photos of him and our Corvette Z06 project. 

From up there I thought, Hey, the Civic looks cool down there with those yellow dashes or whatever on the pavement. Snap, snap.

The shots taken just before the Civic photo looks a lot like this:

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/13/19 10:31 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

So, wanna hear about editorial multi-tasking? The lead photo was taken in the Daytona infield during JG's Time Trial session. After helping him on grid, I drove over to the International Horseshoe bleachers: parked the car, swapped lenses, and ran to the top of the bleachers just in time to get on-track photos of him and our Corvette Z06 project. 

From up there I thought, Hey, the Civic looks cool down there with those yellow dashes or whatever on the pavement. Snap, snap.

The shots taken just before the Civic photo looks a lot like this:

Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports

I'm all for the idea of just arranging several different features where we can just stand in one place and shoot them all without moving. It would be a like a buffet.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
8/13/19 10:35 a.m.

mmm, buffet. What's for lunch?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/13/19 10:37 a.m.
Marjorie Suddard said:

mmm, buffet. What's for lunch?

Booger

Mmmmm. But I brought lunch. It's in the fridge. 

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
8/13/19 10:58 a.m.
Marjorie Suddard said:

mmm, buffet. What's for lunch?

The Indian one is pretty good.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/13/19 11:11 a.m.

Before we totally devolve into talk about food (yes, it's nearly lunchtime), what do you seek in a track tire? Does outright speed matter? Long life? Talkative? Price? What's your go-to?

Also, some foreshadowing from Falken:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ffacebook%2Fvideos%2F736059833520061%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=281

 

kevinatfms
kevinatfms Reader
8/14/19 5:36 a.m.

Price and Grip.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
8/14/19 5:55 a.m.

Wear, predictability (especially with age) price, and grip in that order. I don't run for times during track days. I prefer to work on braking and keeping after speed between corners, both of which I need to fix before I'm actually fast at all. In the mean time I need to keep consumable costs low and keep out of walls and other smushy bits. I also have a set of 615's from Tire Rack. laugh

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/19/19 2:58 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Yeah, I think we're on the same page. I'm okay with lower limits if that yields a tire that's stable and consistent through the entire session. 

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
8/19/19 3:30 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Before we totally devolve into talk about food (yes, it's nearly lunchtime), what do you seek in a track tire? Does outright speed matter? Long life? Talkative? Price? What's your go-to?

As seen in the August tire test, the Hankook R-S4 pushes all the right buttons.

russinok
russinok
8/21/19 12:52 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Just a quick correction.  The articles states that the stock tire size is:

235/45R18

I think you will find that is actually 235/40/18.

This project car has me seriously considering the purchase of a Civic Si ... though my test drive the other day of a Veloster N certainly turned my head toward Hyundai for the first time ever!  Local dealer even has it priced $2300 off sticker!  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/22/19 11:53 a.m.

You are correct--errant finger. We'll fix asap.

The Veloster is very cool. No limited-slip, but a heck of a deal. 

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