How much is extra tire performance worth/useable?

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  • #627
    Michael Costa
    Participant

    So I am looking at some “Max Performance Summer” tires like the Hankook V12, Sumitomo HTR ZIII, and the DunlopSP Sport Max TT, and comparing it with an extreme performance tire like the Dunlop Direzza Star Specs. There’s about a $400 difference between fitting my car with the Hankook’s and the Star Specs. My question is, is it worth the difference? Or perhaps a better question is, will I be able to take advantage of the difference given that I am relatively new to the sport? Are we talking about a difference that is only noticeable at the hairy edge of stability, or will the difference be plainly obvious to an intermediate AutoX’er?

    I’ve had a track guy recommend the Hankook’s, and have definitely heard a number of veteran AutoX’rs rave about the Star Specs.

    #628
    Brad Vaughan
    Participant

    So last year I went from (after 1 year on them) Hankook Ventus V12 (Max Performance) to a Bridgestone RE11 (Extreme Performance) last year and I was probably .75 to 1 second closer (over a 60 second course) to identical spec cars and more consistent (because I did not over drive them as much trying to catch up)

    You can look at historical times in A class for me to see the difference. I started last year on the new tire (the only change).

    B

    #629
    Aleksey Kadukin
    Participant

    I’ve been trying autocrossing with Sumitomo HTR ZIII with zero success; the car was gliding on Marina tarmac as on ice. Star Specs did way better job for me last year. However, one of fastest C class drivers was driving similar car on HTR ZIIIs with no issues. I assume it depends from your driving skill and style. Sumitomo HTR ZIII does not like to be pushed IMHO; Star Specs are holding up much better but might overheat and start losing traction progressively after few runs on heavy car. Sumitomo would be more comfortable for daily driving than Star Specs (it depends from car suspension setup as well). However, I would recommend Star Specs or similar extreme performance summer tires for autocrossing at first glance; they are targeting weekend motorsport activities by design and would give you advantage over more civilized tires.

    #630
    Jeff Roberts
    Keymaster

    Star specs for me. I ran thru a set of 18″ that I used for street and autocross. They lasted me about a year and 13k miles. They grip like crazy and have a firm sidewall, something I like. As a street tire, they get very loud as they wear down. As an autocross tire they are excellent. Unlike Aleksey’s experience, i don’t think they get greasy towards the end of my runs. I do monitor tire pressure and don’t like them over 40psi hot, 38-39psi is more my preference.

    I now have a dedicated set in 17″ that I use for autocross and occasional track day. I have been running r-comp tires for track days for a few years and last summer switched to the Star Spec. Reason being, I do more autocross than track and wanted a dedicated set for both. I ran them for two days in 100+ degree heat at Buttonwillow last July and was very impressed with them. I’m not the fastest advanced student out there, but I found they gripped just as good as the r-comps I was running. I had trust issues on the first day thinking they were not as up to the task as the r-comps were, so I didn’t push it. But, as the day went on, they proved they were up to the task and I really pushed it on Sunday. I was very impressed with them at the track too.

    IMO they lose their grip as they approach the wear bars, so I like to replace them at that point.

    I run the Hankook V12 Evo’s on my street wheels and love them. They are quiet, comfortable, and plenty grippy for my frequent mountain twisty driving (I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains). I prefer them to the RE11 for street driving. My DSC light flickers far less with the Hankook’s, hard to believe for the price, but that’s my experience. I have not autocrossed them and think I would not like them over the Star Specs. The soft sidewall on the Hankook is the deal breaker for me there. Excellent street tire though.

    Some folks run the RS3, which I read and hear is another excellent autocross tire. Apparently they wear fast though, like 7k-8k miles for mixed use. I get almost twice that out of the Star Specs, so they trumped the RS3 for me.

    I can say if you’re a novice/low intermediate driver, you may still be working on your technique and style of autocrossing. If you get a lot of push and power thru it, you’ll eat up the fronts quickly. I’m not saying you do that, but based on my experience, it took me a season or so to dial myself in. Grip is good, but if you eat tires, might be good to use something less expensive to start. If cost is not an issue, then go for the good stuff right off the bat.

    You’ll see many cars wearing Star Specs tomorrow. I was a big Bridgestone S-03 fan on my previous car and the Star Spec reminds me a lot of that tire. Similar tread pattern, tons of grip, firm sidewall, everything I like.

    #678
    an nguyen
    Participant

    i’d say difference will be plainly obvious to an intermediate AutoX’er.
    v12 is not track worthy so your track guy is likely referring to kook rs3.

    [quote=”macmacaman” post=298]Are we talking about a difference that is only noticeable at the hairy edge of stability, or will the difference be plainly obvious to an intermediate AutoX’er?

    I’ve had a track guy recommend the Hankook’s, and have definitely heard a number of veteran AutoX’rs rave about the Star Specs.[/quote]

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