ME Racing is proud to be sponsored by Phils Tire Service. They've been helping us stay glued to the track since 2006!
When you visit Phils Tire Service online, in the paddock or at PTS HQ in New York State you get Phil and Kim helping you. The level of customer service they provide is personal and remarkable. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the programs NASA puts together for competitors and HPDE drivers across the country, but we’re glad to have PTS in our corner – make that all four corners of our ST4 BMW525 whether the track is wet or dry!
What they offer beyond great service is expertise on how the tires and wheels they sell work at the tracks we run. This expertise comes from Phil’s 30 years in the tire business, and their serving the Northeast and MidAtlantic regions trackside for over a dozen years. We think PTS gives ME Racing that Mark Donohue “Unfair Advantage” type of advantage. We’re not stingy though – we’re going to share what we can so you can go fast too.
In case you’re wondering, a DOT Competition tire has a Department of Transportation rating. Although they are made for track duty, they can be driven on the street. Non-DOT rated racing slicks provide better grip and wear faster and are not legal for road use. With all of these tires an initial heat cycle is crucial if you want to get the best performance and longest life possible out of your pricey rubber. According to Hoosier for example, the first laps are critical for setting up their R7. They say the first session should be 10-15 minutes with the pace increased until the end so they come to full operating temperature, but to not slide the tire. The subsequent curing phase should be at least 24 hours and ideally up to a week. The alternative is to have PTS heat cycle them for you.
The Hoosier R7 is a DOT Radial Competition tire developed for autocross and road racing. They require about negative 3 degrees of camber and carry a treadwear rating of 40. They won’t last a long time, but they will provide the most grip in this group of tires. So much so that NASA accounts for the difference in horsepower to weight Super Touring (ST) classes like ours. They are also the most expensive tires in this group.
The Maxxis Victra RC-1 is designed for dry road racing applications. It has a 100 treadwear rating. . The higher treadwear means these will last longer than the Hoosiers. They’re still fast and are easier on the budget compared to the R7 or Toyo RR, but they may not be as fast so we get a bump in the performance index for ST racing. We’re going to start the season on the RC-1 while we develop our BMW 525. Since we ran our last set of RC-1's in Spec E30, Maxxis has released an updated compound so we're anxious to see how they respond.
The Toyo Proxes RR is designed for dry track use and although it carries a 40 treadwear rating it runs more like a 100 treadwear tire. In our experience running the RR on our Spec E30 racer the handling response felt crisper than on the Maxxis, but times are not that different between the two. Price-wise these fit in between the Hoosiers and Maxxis tires. Both the RR and RC-1 are symmetrical so they can be flipped to add more running life.
When it rains we need grooves on our tires to move as much water out of the way as possible. The 200 treadwear Maxxis VR-1 and Toyo RA-1 tires can also be used for endurance racing where more durable, longer lasting tires are needed.
Hoosier says the Hoosier H2O – W2 Radial Wet tires offer traction for fast and consistent lap times in wet track conditions and will work well in damp to drying track conditions. If you’ve got the budget you can have these shaved from the full depth of 8/32” to approximately 4/32" tread depth for intermediate conditions. Like the R7, the H20 treadwear rating is 40.
The Maxxis VR-1 features a compound that warms to operating temperature quickly and has an aggressive tread pattern that makes it a good endurance racing choice. We had limited run time on the VR-1 in our Spec E30, but what we felt through the wheel was that they were grippier than the Toyo RA-1. (Then again, we don’t get a ton of rain in the northeast so our rain tires can sit for a long time. We usually take our rain set from the previous year and make them our practice and HPDE session tires.)
Before the Toyo RR came out, the Toyo Proxes RA-1 was the specified tire for Spec E30. They were shaved down to 4/32” to remove the cross grooves and leave just a pair of radial grooves for dry conditions. Overall performance was not as high as the RR but they were really durable. We kept an unshaved set for rain and an old set to beat on in practice and HPDE sessions until we got down to the cords. We expect the Maxxis VR-1 to give us better stick when we need it in intermediate conditions and good wet track performance.
If you are in the PTS track service area on the east coast we recommend that you work with them. In addition to NASA they support the SCCA and EMRA series too. If you're at one our NASA NE events head for our tent to chat about tires and whatever else like finding out who's bartending that night.