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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since there are many club members with years [or hundreds of miles] of competitive experience, I hope that the knowledgeable readers here will write-up a few sentences or facts regarding “near race” tire purchases and how these products met your expectations.
If possible [in addition to model-brand-etc] then would you consider touching on some of these concerns:
Outright performance [initial/new grip]
How temperamental [must be shaved or require lots of heat?]
Consistency over dozens of heat cycles
Value [miles per dollar]
Relative availability [outlets AND sizes]
Particularly good/bad applications [heavy car or 4WD, etc]
Response to PSI changes

Thank you
 

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Tires

For Miatas, the popular choices seem to be: street/track Dunlop z1 Star Spec. Track only Notto NT01. Check tire rack and talk to Rudy.
 

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For the track Kumho Victo Racers were awesome on my '74 and '70 Alfa GTVs until they became very hard to come by (in 14/205/55) so I switched to Nitto NT-01's, not expecting them to be quite as good. After all they cost less. The NT-01's are not only better, they last about 2 track days longer than the Kumhos. And they are readily available.
 

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Toyo RA-1s are fully treaded race tires. I've been racing on them for years (74 GTV, then a 65 Sprint GT race car). They may be a second slower than the bet full-race tires but they work well on the street too and wear a long time. I can say for sure they are faster than the Avons I tried. When I had a combo car (street/race--the 74 GTV) I drove to the track and raced on the Toyos--I could run a year that way (occasional street driving, drive to/from the track, and 5 races a year). THese are the only tires I know of that can do this. I once had a set shaved but concluded that that amounted to just throwing away most of the tire, now I race on the full tread. The main problem with the Toyos is they are hard to get--do a Google search to find dealers, but last time I tried back in February the dealer said they were out of stock and would have them in April. I haven't tried since.

Doug Bender
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I appreciat your help

Philip; I have the Dunlop 'star spec' model tires now on my can and do like them as much [or more than] as any 200 tread-wear rated DOT legal tire.
I am very tempted to try the NT-01 model as long as I can procure the appropriate sizes.
Andy/alfab4u; Your experience seems to repeat some of what Phillip said. I have a set of Victo-Racers on another set of wheels for my car. This seems to be a ten year old model that would not surprise many people if was dropped or replaced by another Kumho soon. THese tires are relatively pricy for their longevity but are predictable & reliable. People tend to run these even when there is little or no tread more than many similar tires. And these tires do tend to heat-cycle away from their intended performance envelop relatively soon.
Doug/alfabender; Your recommendation for the RA-1 Toyo makes me wonder - - I was talking to Bruce Colby about tire choices in April 2011. He told me that the RA-1 was quite an incredible tire - at least until it was discontinued from production by Toyo a couple of years ago. Then he told me that he strongly suspects that some other Toyo carcus or construction [maybe the R-888] is now being used in the RA-1 treadpattern. This is sort of a reincarnation of that old reliable tire that he remembers, but the performance [according to him] of the RA-1 in not there any more.

Other than driving skill, tires make the biggest difference in most people's car and can be modified by removing & refastening 20 lug nuts. Tires choices also change every year, and opinions run strong w/ enthusiast drivers. So my ears are open and I will listen to anyone who tells me about racetrack performance - especially their tire experience w/ street legal tires.

So far:
Victoracer, med-high price, limited sizes in 2012, medium wear rate, slightly temperature sensitive, not too pressure sensitive [med tread depth]
Falcon Azenis 215-615, med-low price, more sizes in 2011, high wear rate, specific temperature window, fast to get up to correct operating temp.
Old RA-1, sound like a great all-around racetrack [dot-legal] tire, no longer sold in North America
New RA-1. sounds like a mediocre tire, medium price, with relatively high wear rate. Very shallow tread [no need for shaving]
Nitto-01, med-low price, med-low wear rate, performance on par with similarly wear-rated [dot-legal] tire choices.
Dunlop DZ-1 star spec; med-high price, long-long tread-life, best choice for rain-soaked events, still decent grip for a 200 treadwear rated tire, lots & lots of sizes made for North America [a candidate for shaving]
Toyo r888; not so impressive grip nor longevity, I have not looked in to price.

My car: 2004 S2000/honda
Front 215-225 x 45 x 17
Rear 245-255 x 40 x 17
Thanks again, jeff
 

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Toyo r888; not so impressive grip nor longevity, I have not looked in to price.

My car: 2004 S2000/honda
Front 215-225 x 45 x 17
Rear 245-255 x 40 x 17
Thanks again, jeff
Hi Jeff -

My wife and I have tracked our respective cars for almost two decades now, and have used tires that are multi-purpose (street/track), and dedicated-purpose (track only).

Just this year, we both tried the Toyo R-888's. Before this, we ran the T1-S which was then superseded with the T1-R. Then we diverged when I ran the RA-1's and she stayed on the T1-R's. I also have Hoosier R-compounds, and Pirelli slicks that I use for competition events, which I have used as benchmarks.

When we swtiched to the Toyo R-888's, they impressed us both. It's much more forgiving than purpose-built R-compounds yet don't give up much grip to them. There's more forewarning of impending total loss of grip, yet manageable to the ragged edge.

They are a bit noisy for street use, but if all you're doing is to drive to the track, turn some very fast laps, then drive home, it'll suit your purposes just fine. I don't find them any noisier than the RA-1's, for instance. But, comfort tires they are not.

Let me answer your questionnaire for you:

Outright performance [initial/new grip]: stunning. The stiff sidewalls made me think I was on Hoosiers so I just drove them as if they were. Yet they were much more forgiving!
How temperamental [must be shaved or require lots of heat?] Nope, use them full depth. Unless you're going to do a 5-lap qualifying sprint, these are great.
Consistency over dozens of heat cycles: Can't say, only have a half dozen events on them so far (each event may be a one-day or two-day)
Value [miles per dollar]: So far, it gets full marks.
Relative availability [outlets AND sizes]: AIM Tire: American International Motorsports
Particularly good/bad applications [heavy car or 4WD, etc]: works well primarily for track use, wouldn't use it in the rain, though.
 

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What about the Kumho V-710 ? I have to run 195/55-14 on my Super because of the tight rear fender clearance. Do the Nitto's come in that size ?
 

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Interesting article about RA-1's vs R888's at:

....RA-1 Vs R-888 + NEW INFO!!!
That info has been out for some time. I agree with most that the R888 is a not a great tire compared to other R-comps. It can theoretically be faster than the RA1 but its harder to setup a car for and they heat cycle out much quicker than the RA1.

The R888 was not well liked. Spec Miata told Toyo to either bring the RA1 back or they would change manufacturers. The high cost and short life cycle compared to the RA1 were no well received. So the RA1s made a come back. RA1 supple is low and price is higher which has made the NT01s more popular.
 
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