Track Tires on Non-Tracked cars

I’ve seen this many times especially at car shows and car meets. First lets talk about what makes a tire more track oriented then then normal street tires

MSRH Jan 2017-22

A track tire has lower tread wear rating than a street tire. When a tread wear rating is lower it means the tire wears out faster. For example a 200 tread wear tire will wear out faster then a 300 tread wear tire. Doesn’t matter how you drive it, a lower tread wear tire will always wear out faster. I’ve seen some tires with tread wear of 40! They would probably last maybe one or two track days depending on how use them. A good balance for a tire that is capable on the street and track is the 300 tread wear range. The Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a good example. It doesn’t wear out too quickly for daily street use and still capable at the track.

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Track tires have a softer compound which sacrifice rubber faster to get the additional grip. To get more grip you need softer compound tires but the downside is they don’t last as long compared to a higher tread wear (harder compound) tires.

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The tread design (pattern) on a track oriented tire is more aggressive than a normal street tire. Not only it looks cool but the aggressive pattern on track oriented tires provide more grip particularly in the dry then in the wet. The aggressive tread design allows more rubber to be contacting the road. The downside to this you sacrifice wet grip performance. The bigger rubber contact patch with less groves doesn’t channel water out effectively compared to a street tire. Sometimes track tires are so horrible on the wet and all you do is slide all over the road. Ive been there.

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With a softer compound and more aggressive tread pattern, has another drawback that you sacrifice. Its road noise and harsher ride. Track oriented tires produce a lot more road noise than a street tire. Some people are thinking is not bad but you will hear a difference. Some track oriented tires sound like mud tires or as if your wheel bearing is bad. When I switch back to my street tires from the track I do notice the car is a lot quieter, more civilized. The sidewalls on a track tire is a lot stiffer then a street tire. A stiffer side wall allows better road feedback but when you are on bumpy roads you really feel it. Not in a comfortable way either.  For more performance you sacrifice some comfort too.

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Is it worth spending the extra money to buy more aggressive tires for the street?

Nope…. and here is why. Track tires or track oriented tires for that matter was designed to perform, at its best, on the track. At the track you are hitting 1g constantly, heat generated at the track makes the tires sticky providing more grip as you continue doing laps. On the street, you don’t subject your tires to that abuse you see at the track. You’ll never get a track oriented tire up to its full grip on the street becuase the tires are too cold to generate enough grip. Im pretty sure that’s why some cars crash on the street becuase of this. Regular street tires gets the job done just as fine. At least with street tires they are more forgiving at the limit and its at lower speeds when they lose grip.

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Basically you are not using the track tire to is full potential on the street because you are under using the tire.

People are just wasting money on a tire that wears out faster, poor wet grip, noisy tire, and more uncomfortable on the street. Sure it may look cool and can say it has more grip but honestly it wont grip as much unless you track it. You wont look skinny if you just wear the gym clothes, you actually have to go to the gym.

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Its just my opinion and maybe some of the readers might get hurt or some might agree but thats what makes the car community soo diverse. Some people are more for the show and thats it. I was about that once. But for me, if I did a mod for the M3 its going to be for the track and not for a show… Because why pay money to park your car and stand around when you a can pay to to drive your car and yourself at the limit and learn some new things along the way.

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