Best track day tyres – the most important upgrade for your performance car
We look at the current crop of trackday tyres available on today’s market sorted according to budget.
Tyres are a gateway through which you can easily and (relatively) cheaply expand your car’s performance. The amount of power you can deploy, the lateral load a chassis can withstand, the amount of brake pressure you can apply is all mediated by your tyres – 500bhp, carbon-ceramics and a finely honed suspension setup can all be undone by shoddy rubber providing a less than ideal connection to the road surface.
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A host of parameters have a profound affect on a tyre's ability to deliver high-speed performance: specific tread block patterns, structural stiffness and the rubber compound(s) used to construct it. Tyres conceived with track driving in mind will be specially designed to give the optimum performance in these parameters so you’re buying a tyre specifically designed for the job of performing well on track.
Let's expel a quick myth about track tyres too – they’re not totally useless in the wet – it’s product dependant. Some track and performance tyres are designed and manufactured with changeable conditions in mind, others are solely intended to excell on bone-dry tarmac.
So, before you lift the bonnet, fit new suspension or make any other modifications besides a service, get some track biased tyres for your track day car. These tyres needn’t be as expensive as you may think, either, and they are certainly likely to be a cheaper upgrade than mechanical modifications you can make to a car.
Below we’ve selected a range of the best tyres across a range of three price bands to show you what’s on offer when it comes to track day tyres...
Track tyres from £65 - £85
Federal 595 RS-R
Prices: from £65Width: 195-285mmDiamterer: 15-18in
Suitable for both road and track, the RS-R has been designed to give high levels of adhesion along with wet-weather abilities and resistance to aquaplaning. MSA-approved for competition use.
Nankang Sportnex NS-2R
Prices: from £65Width: 175-265mmDiamterer: 13-18in
A control tyre for many championships, the NS-2R is available in three different compounds. Road legal, and designed specifically for both wet and dry use, it makes a good all-rounder.
Toyo Proxes R888R
Prices: from £85Width: 185-315mm Diamterer: 13-20in
A thoroughly updated version of the popular R888, it offers better grip, response and feedback. MSA approved but not suitable in wetter conditions due to aquaplaning risk.
Track tyres from £90 - £125
Yokohama Advan A048R
Prices: from £90Width: 165-255mmDiamterer: 12-18in
Designed to deliver precise control and predictable grip in dry conditions. Can be used in the damp but there is an aquaplaning risk in the wet. Three different compounds for different cars and uses.
Kumho ECSTA V70A
Prices: from £105Width: 175-335mmDiamterer: 13-18in
The control tyre for a number of championships, the V70A comes in three compounds and Kumho says it offers superior wet and dry handling characteristics. MSA approved.
Prices: from £122Width: 185-265mmDiamterer: 13-18in
The updated ZZR has a new compound and construction aimed at ultimate dry-weather performance (though it’s less effective in the wet than Avon’s ZZS). MSA approved.
Track tyres from £125+
Prices: from £125Width: 185-295mmDiamterer: 14-18in
The DZ03G has been a control tyre in many championships, but is also road legal. Two compounds are vailable; both offer strong performance in the dry but can suffer from aquaplaning in the wet.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
Prices: from £140Width: 215-245mmDiamterer: 17-21in
Designed for the circuit but homologated for the road, the Cup 2 has reinforced shoulders to slow wear and increased tread depth to delay the onset of aquaplaning. MSA approved.
Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R
Prices: from £225Width: 205-325mmDiamterer: 15-21in
Updated dry-weather track tyre for high-end sports cars, with better wear characteristics than the original Trofeo and an increase in stability and lateral grip. Road-legal but not designed for wet use.