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tire help please.

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tire help please.

Postby turboboltss » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:30 pm

So for the past few years I’ve been attending open track days, (when I can) with my 2008 cobalt ss turbo. the past few times I’ve been out there I’ve been running around 302HP and around 290ish TQ, I never had the car dynoed so I’m probably low balling the numbers (my car was just as fast if not faster the Camaros and mustangs). But anyway to the point I’ve been running the car with my street tires I’ve always been a fan of Bridgestone Potenza series. Last year I was running with Potenza re760 sport tires and they seemed to be ok the car had for the most part good traction. But still felt like I could have more. I am also running with about -1.2 camber on the front and about -.6 on the rear and the car is lowered from stock 2 inches. But my question is this year I’ve got a lot more power and I know I’ll need a lot more traction. I’m asking anyone who runs FWD at Waterford hill for tire advice not sure what I should get for open track days. I do have a spare set of rims to put tires on I’d like to have tires that are 235_40/45_17. I’m not sure if I should buy race slicks or try to stick to a good street tire. IF anyone can point me in a good direction for a real grippe tire that will be under $1000 id really appreciate it. Thank you
08 cobalt ss/tc, 91 rx7 turbo, 94 corvette.
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Re: tire help please.

Postby 2BWise » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:42 pm

What are your goals? Are you doing this for fun? Do you want to lower your lap times and see how fast it'll really go? Plans to race it in the future? Spending lots of money on go-fast-tires that only last a few events could be a waste if you don't really need them. What run group are you normally in? Stepping up to a slick too soon could cause a lot of bad habits if you jump too them too quickly. It may also not be necessary if you don't have plans to race in the future because you'll never need a good race tire. It is also a slippery slope to spending lots of $$$$$$$$$$.
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Re: tire help please.

Postby rjkracer1 » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:28 am

turboboltss,
If you want to do this on the cheap, goto Ebay and search USDRRT 17 and you might find some take offs of DOT rated race tires. This tire dealer is extremely good and stands behind these used tires. I have used him for years and usually purchase used spec miata tires for really cheap for my Escort and now my Miata. I used them for autocross and track days. I even bought a set of used formula tires for 13" wheels i had and found the limits of grip to be scary! Currently there are a set of BFG's for less than $200 plus shipping. This way you don't spend alot, you should get a couple of track days off them and then you can make big decisions on where to go from there.
Now, with great powers comes greater responsibility! (thanks stan lee). Grip is everything good and everything bad.
First the bad....There are several folks out there that run Cobalts that can clue you in to the possible weak points of the vehicle. Mustangs with 335/17 tires will break caliper brackets, Neons with 275-35r15 snap axles, and I know someone that broke a rear end from the added grip on a Corvette Z06!!! So if this is your daily driver that you are going to try to drive home after a track day, make sure you have a backup plan. Also, race tires tend to be edgy at the limit. In other words, they don't make as much sound as regular street tires so exceeding their limit can happen without warning and put you into contact with immovable objects. SO work up to the potential of the grippy tires carefully. And braking will be better, so you will be able to brake later than most people on street tires, so be careful as they stop sooner while you try to stop later and bang goes your front end to their rear!
Now the good... You will corner like a real race car(sort of), and start to carry your speed through the corners and catch even more folks down the straights. You will be able to brake harder and deeper making you feel like you started at the back of the group just to prove you can pass the entire field. Assuming the car has a LSD, plant your right foot to get the car to pull through small errors. The art of driving a FWD is just that an art, and with better tires you will start to enjoy the experience even more. I always had fun with the Escort passing Camaros, CTS-V, Mustangs, Porsches....they never knew a econo box could be fast, or they were just that new. Still I got to brag with photos to prove it (I have been club racing for over 25 years).
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Re: tire help please.

Postby TealTuna » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:23 am

I agree with all mentioned above. Your xxxHP and xxxtq is going to be a pain with that car unless you have serious tire and suspension to handle it (I daily drive a mazdaspeed3 so same problem... too much front wheel torque).. but from my experience just taking my 3 to the track (mid-ohio and gingerman... have kept it away from Waterford)... a lesser tire is great for practicing and getting to know the car...I actually come very close to my lap times of my Acura with race tires because it's so much easier to drive "fast". Yes you could improve with the tires you have I'm sure (you can ALWAYS improve) but i'll try and answer your question regardless.

Look at the popular auto-x/track day tires that are out right now. Years ago the difference between the hottest autocross tires and R-Compound tires were still pretty significant but i've found that new high performance street tires have TONS of grip!...

The most popular ones I see are the BFG G-Force Rival, BRidgestone Potenza RE-11A, Dunlop Direzza ZII, then there are Yokohamas, Falken Azenis, Hankook RS3's.... All good choices. I would suggest that line of tire and you will have more grip than you can handle for quite a while. If you're not competing... don't bother with slicks. Used ones are your best bet for track days ... this is what I use on my Acura (have shaved ToyoRA1's... work great and were cheap). Note these tires will wear out very quickly if you drive them frequently on the street. They're fine for driving to/from the track but I would stick with a harder street tire especially if you have those 17's available to use.
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Re: tire help please.

Postby turboboltss » Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:08 pm

thank you guys for the help sorry it took so long to reply I've been out of town. my plans are i want this car to be a track day car/ time attack street car. I'm not going to get to crazy with this car about racing with this car due to i don't want to cage it. so i figure not putting a cage in it will limit what i can and cant race with it. i have a harness bar from Powell racing and 4 point seat belts but that's as far as i want to go. but thank you again for all your advice i think I'm going to end up finding just a good everyday tire like the RE-11a or something along those lines. i spent some time in a shop playing with the alignment and i got a tad more camber out of the front i think this should help as well as one step up tires.
08 cobalt ss/tc, 91 rx7 turbo, 94 corvette.
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Re: tire help please.

Postby Nigel Stu » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:08 pm

Take a close look at the rules you eventually want to run the car in for Time Attack, and then match the tire that you can run with those rule sets. No sense in putting super-sticky race slicks on if the rules you'll run with dictate a 180 TW tire; you'll have to learn the car all over again on the allowed tire. True slicks take a lap or 2 to get up to operating temp vs. DOT tires getting up to sticky temps much quicker.

You can learn more/quicker about maintaining speed in corners with a less grippy tire (slicks vs DOT race vs good summer perf tire). Summer perf tires have a benefit of a broader grip curve; i.e. you make more tire noise when exceeding tire grip limit with summer perf vs. losing traction and mowing the lawn.


I like the Dunlops mentioned (have run them on my ChumpCar) and Michelin Pilot Sports/Super Sports. Some like the BFGs and they have tested in some cases to be quicker than Dunlops/RE11a, but have also shown quick wear and delamination (in endurance racing, now short lapping sessions).
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Re: tire help please.

Postby TealTuna » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:13 pm

Just a quick comment on your 4-point harness with roll bar.

I would highly recommend using a 5-point system if at all possible. 4-points are for holding you in your seat while driving... 5points are for keeping you alive incase of an accident. my $0.02
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