The four small patches of your tires are your car’s only point of contact with the track surface – therefore it’s extremely important that you pick suitable tires. Certainly, a set of touring tires might get you around the track, but their comfort-biased characteristics mean that you won’t be able to extract the maximum performance out of your car.
Tyre performance depends on two main characteristics – the tire compound, and the tread pattern. Track-biased or racing tires typically have a soft tire compound, which brings it up to operating temperature quickly and offers more grip. These tires also feature a shallower tread pattern which allow it to provide more grip yet stay street-legal.
If you think that tires are all about physics and nothing about chemistry, you’d have thought wrong! For certain tire compounds, such as those designed specifically for racing or on-track usage, require a specific method of ‘breaking in’ to optimise their performance throughout the lifespan.
This process is termed ‘heat cycling’, where the tires are heated up and cooled down repeatedly to create a stronger bond, allowing it to perform consistently throughout its lifespan and provide better traction and more responsive handling.
You’ve heard it from us, from your tire dealer, and even from your friends – tire pressure plays an important role in tire performance on the street. This fact holds even more true on the track, as the variance in air pressure changes that shape of the contact patch, directly impacting handling and performance.
There’s no universally applicable air pressure that guarantees the best performance for each and every car, but instead, determine the optimum air pressure for your car through experimentation. The best way to do this is to adjust your air pressure up and down by 2psi (14kPa) and run timed test laps to determine what air pressure results in the best lap time.
When your car goes back to serving commuter duty, ferrying you to and from work, don’t neglect your track tires! Just like new tires, track tires when unused should also be stored in a cool and dry place.
If possible, the tyres should be removed from the car, have all air released from them, and stored on their sides in a black plastic bag. Don’t forget to keep them sheltered from the elements, and away from temperatures higher than 32 degrees Celcius.
For tyres that provide ultimate handling and response, check out our POTENZA performance tyre range to find a tyre that best suits your track driving needs!