2010 Reader Track Day Tyre Comparison

Nige (also affectionately known as wh00sher on pistonheads.com) does a few trackdays. 10,000 track miles in the last 2 years to be precise, which includes over 650 laps at the 'Ring. His weapon of choice is a 980kg, 160bhp FWD MK2 Golf.

After growing tired of receiving contradicting tyre information from the paddock he took it upon himself to try and find the best of the bunch and went through sets of Toyo R888, Yokohama A048, Dunlop DZ02's and Kumho V70a over a period of 2 years.

His writeup is excellent, so much so that we asked if we could reprint it here in all it's glory. He graciously agreed and here it is!

Guest Author: Nige
Car: MK2 Golf (980kgs, 160bhp)
Tyres compared: Toyo R888, Yokohama A048, Dunlop DZ02 and Kumho V70a

A summary of my experiences with various tyres this year...

Toyo R888

These were the first 'R' rated tyre I ever used. After driving on Goodyear Eagle DSG3's or Yokohama Parada Spec2's which I thought were great, it was a revelation driving on a track orientated tyre.

The dry grip was a huge improvement over a standard road tyre. Turn in and feel was much better, this is due to the sidewalls on R tyres being much stiffer than a conventional tyre and the compound being a 'stickier' one than a normal road tyre. The R888's allowed longer sessions on track without overheating, the treadblocks are larger, allowing less movement than usual.

The tyres are very temperature dependant and certainly need a few minutes on track to get some heat into them before they start offering good levels of grip. Varying the pressures to get a good feel and grip took some experimenting, but once a sweet spot is found, they were fine.

The downside to this increased grip is tyre wear, as with most things in life, its a compromise between longevity and grip. On a track only car, I actually managed to get more miles out of a set simply because the normal road tyres overheated and started to fail with chunks of rubber breaking away from the surface after a long session. The 888's don't do that, they still overheat, but it takes longer to get them to do so.

Something I've found with 888's is a peculiar wear pattern, they seem to wear a 'groove' about 1/3 of the way in from the edge. Varying pressure doesn't seem to change it and I think its down to the geometry and FWD nature of my car.

Yokohama A048

After hearing many positive things about A048's, I decided to take the plunge, buy a new set and see what they are like for myself. I've only run R888's as track tyres before and know what they feel like in most conditions now. I have a good idea of what life to expect out of a set and how they perform when hot or cold.

Had a set of A048's fitted in Medium 195/50/15 in March 2009, Heat cycled them at Silverstone in May and decided to try them out at Cadwell in June.

First time I turned into Charlies, the steering felt MUCH heavier than before, I immediately commented on it to my passenger. Over the next few laps, once they warmed up, I could feel the sidewallls were much harder. The car usually has a strange 'bounce' when cornering under load, its the tyre wall flexing and I can always feel it. I'm used to it and its not a problem, but the A048's don't do that and it makes the turn in feel much sharper, but required more steering effort.

The A048's didn't overheat and grip wise seemed as good as the r888's.

From first impressions, if they cost the same as 888's, I'd got for the Yokohama's.

Dunlop DZ02

I also tried a part worn set of the DZ02's. I'd put them somewhere between the r888's and A048's. Definitely can feel the sidewall flexing, more than the A048's but not as much as the 888's.

Grip wise they seemed good, but these have had a few more heat cycles than the others and didn't seem quite as progressive, once the grip started to go, it fell off much quicker than the other two, however, I only did a couple of dry sessions with them, I need to do more laps to really get a feel for them and get them fully warmed up.

Like most things, these views are subjective so what I prefer, on my car with my driving style may be totally unsuitable for you.

Kumho V70a (Hard compound)

My initial thoughts (these may be partly due to the tyres been old and cycled several times.)

- They take longer to warm up than the r888's, Direzzas or A048's.
- The squeal more than the 888's, Direzzas or A048's
- The grip feels to be slightly less, but the GPS traces don't really back this up. Perhaps I'm driving them the same as the others, but using more of the available grip?
- They are wearing FAR FAR better than any other 'R' tyre I've used before.
- Sidewalls seem to be somewhere between the 888's and the A048's. Probably not quite as stiff as the A048's, but close.

I am definitely buying a set of these for my next track tyres instead of r888's or A048's. They are what I was hoping the A048's would be, similar grip to the Toyo's but longer life, I find the A048's better than the Toyos, but the life is disappointing.

The only thing I'm undecided on is should I go is compound. The hard compound may not be perfect for UK tracks, the hard does seem to take a while to heat up on my Golf, on heavier / more powerful cars, that may not be an issue, but the medium would probably be better in my case for shorter sessions and would offer more grip too.

Overall, I like the Kumho V70a's, a LOT. I managed around 70 laps out of my A048's before they were pretty much worn out. I did over 100 laps (at similar pace) on the part worn Kumho's and they still had life left.


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