Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a series rookie, you won’t be winning any races without the right tyres on your ride. Big time races, like the World Series seasons use one tire supplier for every race. This evens out the playing field and helps judges rule out cheating when it comes to track performance. At home, you might not have Pirelli handing you precision tyres for your drive, but you can still be conscious about what you’re rolling on, and how much speed they offer you.
1. It’s on the Label
Most car owners don’t bother with tyre labels; instead, they ask their mechanic to slap on whatever’s cheapest and in tune with the season. If you want to have the best tyres on your car, you’ve got to pay attention to the label. Every tyre company is required to test their products against a standard tyre for comparison of wear, sped, and temperature. All of this information is available to the consumer public once the wheels go on sale. So, what should you be looking for?
Traction is graded by letters, AA, A, B, C, etc., and you’ll see temperature graded the same way. Tread wear is rated on a number scale from 100 to 400, based on how it compared to the reference wheel. If you want the best of the best then you’re looking for a grade of AA for traction to keep you rolling when conditions are poor, a grade of at least A for temperature, so you know your tyres aren’t overheating under you. You also want a grade of 400 when it comes to tread wear. 400 is the highest rating nearly any tyre will have for tread wear and it means that it’s outlasted the generic reference wheel by 4 times.
2. Manage Your Tread Wear
Professional racers are very careful when managing the tread wear on their tyres because they are only given so many sets for the duration of an event. Most races take place over a weekend, and this means rationing out time on certain sets of wheels to keep tread intact, and allow for the best traction during high speed and sharp turns. Most standard tires are made to last about 10,000 miles before you need to change them due to tread wear. In a high-speed race, like the F1 series, tires are only made to run up to 120 km before being changed.
3. Tyre Pressure Counts
The amount of air in your tyres is crucial to how well it will handle on the road, how fast you can drive, and how safe your vehicle is. Tyre temperature impacts pressure, so true racers have to know how to estimate temperature during a race and adjust pressure accordingly. Tyres get hot during turns, braking, and acceleration because of the added friction from the road. Contact patches can help you to better understand your tires and adjust pressure accordingly.
4. Your Suspension Affects Tyre Wear
Watching for tyre wear is important, because no tread could mean an accident. There’s a reason people don’t drive with bald tyres, and why the tread is deeper during poor weather conditions such as snow and ice. So how can you maintain your tyre tread so that it doesn’t deteriorate so quickly? Unfortunately, you can’t make your wheels last forever, but you can extend their life by paying attention to things like suspension. Suspension can greatly impact your tyres because of how they sit on the car and meet the road. Your suspension allows more pressure on some points of the wheel and less on others.
Poor suspension can lead to other problems as well, such as scraping when you cross a pothole or road bump.
5. The Wear Pattern Tells a Story
Finally, if you want your tyres to last longer, and look their best, pay close attention to the wear pattern. If your tyre is wearing out more on one side than the other, it could mean that they aren’t properly aligned. Not only will this cause one side to go bald faster, it will also slow you down by adding stagger to your drive.
Rotating tyres regularly, and receiving scheduled tune ups and alignments will help even this out. If you notice a lot of extra wear, be sure to mention it to your mechanic next time you’re in.
For more information on racing, contact us at American Spirit Team Johansson today.