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Competition Tires Vs Ultra-High Performance Summer Tires

By twinky64, October 5, 2011

I heard that cold competition tires can be quite slippery and one must need to wait before they warm before really pushing them. Is this true? Are cold competition tires more slippery than cold ultra-high summer performance tires?

To use brakes as an analogy, cold racing brake pads don't have good cold stopping power compared to cold semi-metallic pads or cold ceramic brake pads. Does the same behavior hold true for competition tires compared to high performance summer tires?


That is true, but it depends on the individual tire types and what you consider 'cold'. Performance tires are designed to run in an optimum temperature range, typically well over 100degrees F (usually 120-140F, in my experience). Anything below that, and the rubber won't be soft enough to fully settle into the contours of the pavement. Anything above optimum, and the rubber shears away before maximum grip is reached, making the tires feel 'greasy'.

Most of the extreme performance summer tires have warnings that they are not designed to be used in freezing temperatures. If by "competition tires", you mean "D.O.T. R-compund tires (Hoosier A6/R6, Kumho 710, etc), exposing them to below freezing temperatures damages them by hardening the rubber.

If it helps; most of the nationally competitive AutoXers in street tire categories have two or more sets of tires around and let the weather decide for them. Hankook RS-3s seem to be the favorite for warm weather (About 80F ambient, and above), and Toyo R1Rs for colder weather and rain. It is always funny when the temps are around 80 degrees and drivers pull into grid with Hankooks and Toyos. Toyo drivers will be spraying their tires with water, while the Hankook drivers next to them are covering their tires to retain the heat.default_blink

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