Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Choose your rubber

Selecting the right tire can be tricky. Not only are they expensive, they also don’t seem to last long on the Alba Rallysport WRX. Here is a breakdown of the tires we use for various events.

Surface – snow
Event – winter rallycross/TSD
Tire – Winterforce

A softer compound rubber than a summer or gravel tire they bite well in a straight line and under braking. For rallycross events this winter we found that we had to groove the tire a little to give a more aggressive tread for deeper snow. This tire is a compromise. It doesn’t perform fantastically well on ice nor in deep snow but for all round winter driving it can’t be beat on price. With a 205 width we’d prefer a narrower tire for deep snow so next season we plan on using a 185 wide snow tire.

Surface - tarmac

Event - autocross/track days/tarmac stage rally
Tire – Falken

These 225/45/17 monsters are incredible on dry tarmac. The intermediate tread copes with damp conditions but can be overwhelmed in heavy rain. They can withstand a lot of abrasion and perform very well in high ambient temperatures. We ran an autocross in temperatures of 30-40deg and they were slippery to say the least but we did take the STX class win on them! We are looking forward to getting out on the track with these Falkens again in the spring.

Surface – gravel
Event - rallycross/TSD/gravel stage rally
Tire – Falken & Pirelli

The RS-01D tire is unfortunately no longer available in the US. These tires have proven themselves to us in rallycross and TSD events such as POR. Although they are fantastic on loose gravel they excel in mud and wet grass and are our choice over the Pirellis for that reason. Although a softer compound rubber we prefer to keep the Pirellis for gravel roads.

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