New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

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New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeffear » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:37 am

During the recent Tour event in San Diego I had a chance to learn about the new “Street” tires that are coming on the market. The BMW M3 beside me on the grid was shod with Bridgestone’s new RE-71R Street tires and was co-driven by a Bridgestone Representative. The M3 was expertly prepared and driven and easily won FS.

During the event, I asked the Bridgestone representative to read the tread wear on the OE Pirelli P-Zero tires on my Ecoboost Mustang. I discovered that the the outside interior tread block on the left front was starting to chunk; fingernail sized pieces of rubber were being peeled off the edge. I was told that true street tires like the P-Zeros were prone to this as they are not designed for autocross use or abuse. He also explained that a true street tire would be be prone to abrupt loss of traction when the limit of the tire is exceeded. Tires designed specifically for autocross are more forgiving at the limit with a more gradual drop-off. Good reasons to consider the purchase of true autocross tires.

So I asked him about the new Bridgestone RE-71Rs. He recommended a size 275/35/R19 for my 19x9 wheels and told me that they retailed at TireRack for about $325. I also learned that they should last about 80 runs when flipped; they are symmetrical and can be flipped on the rims providing extra mileage.

So I did some arithmetic.
I estimate that an average autocross course is about 3/4 of a mile in length. So 80 runs on a set of RE-71Rs equals 60 miles. I believe that this is less mileage per tire than NASCAR tires or hard compound F1 or Indy car tires. And these are 200 rated DOT street tires. Isn't this on par with the mileage of race car slicks?

A set of tires for my car, with everything in, is about $1500. and I get at least 20 runs per autocross weekend. So in 4 weekends I will use up a set. Currently there are 13 events on the CalClub schedule so that means a total of 260 runs or 3.25 sets of tires per season resulting in a total cost of about $5,000. Tire cost per weekend is $375. Tire cost per run is $18.75.

I may have this wrong but I thought the new “Street Tire” rules were intended to reduce costs and tire management issues for members, like me, that wanted to enter their stock "daily-drivers” at SOLO events without changing to comp tires. A worthy goal in my opinion. However the cost of the new Street tires currently coming on the market do exactly the opposite and are in my opinion detrimental to the sport.

I am proposing that SCCA enter into an agreement, with a major tire manufacturer, for the supply of a Spec Street tire for SCCA Solo events. These tires should meet the following design parameters
1. DOT approved
2. capable of 10,000 miles of normal street/highway driving
3. capable of 300 autocross runs (225 miles)
4. available in all sizes

With a Spec tire, costs will be reduced dramatically and all competitors in Street classes will be on tires of equal performance. I trust that a company like Bridgestone can engineer a Spec tire that will provide a level of performance for road/track use that is acceptable to everyone. Those wishing higher levels of performance can opt to use slicks as they do now.
Last edited by Jeffear on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Max Hayter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:49 am

Be glad you aren't running Hoosiers any more in stock!

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Leonard Cachola » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:21 am

As it stands now, you have a choice of tire manufacturers to choose from. Bridgestone is on the high side in terms of price, so there are definitely cheaper options available with comparable performance - maybe not the fastest, but close enough to mean driver can be the difference in some classes. Move to a spec tire and you lose the ability to choose from different price points. Really, if you want to do a spec tire, why not push for a spec car while we're at it? That way, both car and tire are no longer factors in determining who wins.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Steve Ekstrand » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:36 am

Ask Sam Strano.......




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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Bill Schenker » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:54 am

Max Hayter wrote:Be glad you aren't running Hoosiers any more in stock!

Really? Did you look at his math? If it really is at that rate, then IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN USING A6s (A7s maybe have better wear?)!

Non chamber challenged cars get 80 runs out of their A6s all the time.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jason Isley BS RX8 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:06 am

Jeffear wrote:I may have this wrong but I thought the new “Street Tire” rules were intended to reduce costs and tire management issues for members, like me, that wanted to enter their stock "daily-drivers” at SOLO events without changing to comp tires. A worthy goal in my opinion. However the cost of the new Street tires currently coming on the market do exactly the opposite and are in my opinion detrimental to the sport.

I am proposing that SCCA enter into an agreement, with a major tire manufacturer, for the supply of a Spec Street tire for SCCA Solo events. These tires should meet the following design parameters
1. DOT approved
2. capable of 10,000 miles of normal street/highway driving
3. capable of 300 autocross runs (225 miles)
4. available in all sizes

With a Spec tire, costs will be reduced dramatically and all competitors in Street classes will be on tires of equal performance. I trust that a company like Bridgestone can engineer a Spec tire that will provide a level of performance for road/track use that is acceptable to everyone. Those wishing higher levels of performance can opt to use slicks as they do now.


No, you have it right. Something about best intentions comes to mind. :lol: People that use small diameter wheels stand to save some money, but in the larger sizes the ST tires have always been on par cost wise with Rs, and the ST tires can really take a beating on many of the bigger more powerful cars.

Be careful what you wish for with spec tires. Ask any competitor in a series that has a spec tire and you will find out most of the time it is good for the manufacturer and the sanctioning body, those programs rarely benefit the competitor. In your example you want a manufacturer to do R&D and build a tire for a relatively small group of competitors, be ready to pay more for a niche product like that - someone has to pay the engineering cost, and if it is not sold to the masses its the competitors that will eat it.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Max Hayter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:09 am

I would suggest that the Hancook fits most of your requirements Jeff.

Is it at the absolute pointy end... no, but you only need that if you and the car are running for the win at a National event anyway.

I think what you will find is that a lot of people will run the Hancook or the Dunlop at local events, and save their Bridgestone/BFG tires for the big National events.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Sean Fenstermacher » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:39 am

Bring back camber allowances originally proposed for Street Classes!!!! :lol:

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Kurt Rahn » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:02 am

Yeah a set of Hankooks costs me about $500 and will last most of, if not all the season. And I generally drive to and from events on my autocross tires. I agree that the larger diameters and widths seem to get exponentially higher in cost, so a 375 19 or 20 inch wheel would probably be pricey. But as was pointed out, unless you're at the pointy end of the results sheets as a driver (which takes a few years of diligent work) you could have magical unicorn tires that emit sparkly fairy dust as they wear and it's not going to matter. In fact, if you're relatively new to the sport, I'd posit that you want crappier tires, because they'll better expose your mistakes and it'll be easier to correct them.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jason Isley BS RX8 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:49 am

Max Hayter wrote:I would suggest that the Hancook fits most of your requirements Jeff.

Is it at the absolute pointy end... no, but you only need that if you and the car are running for the win at a National event anyway.

I think what you will find is that a lot of people will run the Hancook or the Dunlop at local events, and save their Bridgestone/BFG tires for the big National events.


Its awesome that the result of killing off the Stock category is offering up the choice of less expensive and slower tires for people that cant afford the "good" stuff. I think that was always an option when we used Rs. :lol:

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeffear » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:26 pm

I understand that Bridgestone spent a ton of money engineering the new RE-71Rs and they committed to providing a full range of tires. But they also have a 6-8 competitors and I suspect a market share of no more than 20 percent. And lets remember how fickle this market is. A month ago Dunlops were the tires to have. And I suspect before the end of the year there will be several more manufacturers that will produce exceptional, must-have tires for Nationals. Highest level, more affluent competitors in the stock classes will probably own several sets of tires from different manufacturers every season as they seek maximum performance.

A manufacturer of a Spec tire has by definition 100 percent market share and can amortize R and D costs over much greater volumes. Costs should go down not up. In fact they could be on a par with Sumitomo autocross tires. A spec tire manufacturer would also have SCCA marketing benefits to help offset costs. Imagine big logotype stickers (think Tirerack) on all Street tire cars.

Spec tires have worked well and have reduced costs in all major racing series including F1.

If the Stock, Street tire classes are meant to appeal to SCCA members with more limited resources the rapidly rising cost of tires is not supporting this objective.

I agree with all of you that as a newbie to the sport I don't need the latest and greatest but is that the point. As I continue to learn, how can I judge my progress if I am relegated to the least expensive tires available. And if I do become competitive I will have to buy the latest and greatest to remain competitive and that is going to cost $$$$.
Last edited by Jeffear on Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Marshall Grice » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:32 pm

nice april fools. well played.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jason Isley BS RX8 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:24 pm

Keep telling yourself that is how a spec tire would work Jeff. Meanwhile in PWC the spec tires are $400ea. Continental is using a nearly decade old tire design and cost is not much better than PWC. Its a cash cow.

Volume? Solo is not a very big blip on the radar of tire sales, you might sell a few thousand, while they sell tens of thousands of passenger car tires.

After April 30th the tires are locked for the season, so no one can bring a new tire until the next season.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:44 pm

Image

i've read something like this before....

I would find a set of Hankook RS3 as those should be good enough to last you a while as you improve your driving. Stickier tires tend to mask bad driving habits and bad driving habits = severely worn tires (R-comp or Street tire).
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Will Kalman » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:40 pm

You can't compare autocross miles with other forms of racing. We spend a much larger percentage of the time in turns (i.e. we have few straights) and we drive them harder since we don't have to preserve them for multiple laps. Consider that road racers can wipe out a set of tires in a weekend, you'd have to autocross yourself silly to do that.

Aside from price, street tires offer the advantage of removing the need to buy, transport, change, and store a second set of rolling stock (wheels and tires). This is a great advantage for those without the space to store those items or a "tire trailer", such as those who live in apartments. It's also much easier for the novice in his first year or two to just come out and have fun before the bug bites and they "become an autocrosser" and commit to dedicated race tires/wheels. I like things that allow the average Jane or Joe to come out and have fun flinging their car around. To me, that's the essence of the sport moreso than all the hardcore national competitors who are looking at the street/race tire thing from a completely different angle.

Also, your car runs 275/35/R19. Three major things that contribute to tire price are width, aspect ratio, and wheel diameter. Consider that you bought a performance car and that comes with some additional costs like more expensive tire/wheel size. You can autocross a more pedestrian car like a Civic or a Miata and spend a LOT less.

And another point... if you consider in your cost/run calculation that you're also getting street miles with that money, it gets a bit better.

I've wiped out a set of Hoosiers in 22 runs... put that in the calculator....

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeffear » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:39 pm

In the stock classes, SCCA in an effort to reduce costs for competitors allow almost no modifications to the car; I can make it louder or experiment with sway bars and that's it. However, tires which constitute a major expense, are completely open. The logic of this escapes me. Really am I the only one?
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:46 pm

Jeffear wrote:In the stock classes, SCCA in an effort to reduce costs for competitors allow almost no modifications to the car; I can make it louder or experiment with sway bars and that's it. However, tires which constitute a major expense, are completely open. The logic of this escapes me. Really am I the only one?


No, you aren't. We were at this very same place 3 years ago. People were getting 20-30 runs out of their Hoosiers before they were trash and not competitive anymore in Stock. We offered SK1/SK2--->RTclasses to alleviate the need for Rcomps to have a competitive and affordable option. So now we are at stock with street tires with a few cars shuffled around.

TL;DR - We went from 20-30 runs #poorvalue to 60-80 runs #better value. Stock limitations kill the tires (rcomp or not) but there is nothing anyone can realistically do about that if you want to go decently fast.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Will Kalman » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:47 pm

I can make it louder or experiment with sway bars and that's it. However, tires which constitute a major expense, are completely open.


You forgot shocks. You can add several thousand dollars worth of custom-valved shocks. And spend a thousand or more getting them re-valved to optimize them. And lots of runs and a few set of tires while you're at it.

They don't tell you what make, model, and spec of shock, sway bar, or exhaust system. Why should they do that with the tires? Heck, they don't tell you what car to drive, either.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Will Kalman » Thu Apr 02, 2015 1:57 pm

If you want to reduce the cost of autocrossing, find out what class a used Miata dominates (there's always at least one), buy the car, and go for it. There's a cheap avenue, even if you didn't choose it by buying a Mustang, which isn't anyone else's doing.

Heck, you could have bought a National Championship winning STS Civic here a couple months ago for the price of a few set of tires and a set of dedicated wheels for your Mustang. It uses small, inexpensive tires, uses and wears then extremely well and you'll be hard pressed to find more capable cars at an autocross.

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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeffear » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:13 pm

Will Kalman wrote:
I can make it louder or experiment with sway bars and that's it. However, tires which constitute a major expense, are completely open.


You forgot shocks. You can add several thousand dollars worth of custom-valved shocks. And spend a thousand or more getting them re-valved to optimize them. And lots of runs and a few set of tires while you're at it.

They don't tell you what make, model, and spec of shock, sway bar, or exhaust system. Why should they do that with the tires? Heck, they don't tell you what car to drive, either.


You're right about the shocks, I forget about that option only because it seems absolutely ridiculous that you can spend many thousands on shocks (on a stock car) but can't make a simple camber change (camber plate).
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Justin Tsang » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:28 pm

You can run longer lasting tires such as Z2* and RS3 and be really close with guys on RE71R. Unless you are competing nationally, I would save the money and do that.

If the RE71R only lasts 80 runs on your car, those longer lasting tires may only get you another 30 to 40 runs. If the car is hard on tires, it is hard on tires... I used to run a Mazdaspeed 3 and only got 80 runs or so out of the fronts with RS3.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Kurt Rahn » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:35 am

Here's a nugget that was passed to me early in my autocross career that will help you digest what the class is. Don't think of it as stock. These cars don't roll off the showroom floor. Stock is not literally stock. Stock is just a level of prep. It's not meant to be anything more or less. And like i said earlier, don't worry about what tires you need or whether or not you need the $300 double adjustable shocks. The driver is the most important factor. Work on that first, then fine tune by prepping your car.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeffear » Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:38 pm

One more post and then I am going going to stop beating this dead horse.

I have found it interesting that some of the people responding to my original post re tires, have defended the status quo- it is what it is, and it’s been this way for years and we don’t want to talk about it anymore. Just work on your driving Jeffery and everything will be alright.

No one has suggested that yes, perhaps we should be evaluating the rules and regulations and to make changes when appropriate- to be proactive. To be responsive to the needs and wishes of our members will only improve the sport. SCCA is actively trying to make all amateur motor-sports more accessible. Shouldn’t we being doing the same for autocrossing.

I understand that the current Stock classes are not showroom stock but why couldn’t they be. And while on the topic why not eliminate all aftermarket parts- OEM parts only. If someone asked me if $1000 shocks should be legal in Stock I would say no; what purpose would that serve other than to escalate costs. If asked if camber plates should be allowed in stock classes to the reduce tire wear and costs I would probably answer yes.
In the stock classes, let members decide their budget, how fast they want to go and how competitive they want to be when they select their car. Jeff Stuart's objectives in selecting a car are very different than mine but both objectives are valid. I know my car will never win nationals even with Tom Berry at the wheel and that is OK. I made my bed and am perfectly happy sleeping in it. So I have no need to spend $1,000 trying to turn my grocery getting into a National Champion. Showroom stock is OK with me and I suspect this holds true with a lot of Stock class drivers.

As for my original proposal regarding spec tires, no one supported the idea, and the reasons for that may be valid. However, no one suggested that there might be another way to provide more durable, longer lasting, and better value tires for the stock classes. For example, perhaps a durability standard would work. All manufacturers would have to certify that their stock class tires are capable of 250 runs. They are very creative and if forced will find a way to produce tires that meet the standard that are affordable, forgiving, fast and fun to drive on. Free enterprise still works. It’s simply asking them to make tires to a durability standard rather than a performance standard. I suspect that some of you are already thinking of reasons why this wouldn’t work but why not evaluate the idea or get creative in suggesting other ideas. More durable, higher value tires in the stock classes is a good idea and should have your support.

If we aren’t constantly challenging the Status Quo, how is our sport going to improve.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby KJ Christopher » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:37 pm

Jeffear wrote:No one has suggested that yes, perhaps we should be evaluating the rules and regulations and to make changes when appropriate- to be proactive. To be responsive to the needs and wishes of our members will only improve the sport. SCCA is actively trying to make all amateur motor-sports more accessible. Shouldn’t we being doing the same for autocrossing


That's most likely because we just did that over the past several years and ended up here. Being newer to our ranks, you just missed it. It wasn't exaclly a pleasant process, and you're not going to find many people eager to start again so soon. Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time we've had tire rule or category rule changes and I'm sure it won't be the last. But most are calling for stability at this point.
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Re: New Street tires detrimental to the sport?

Postby Jeff Stuart » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:28 pm

KJ Christopher wrote:
Jeffear wrote:No one has suggested that yes, perhaps we should be evaluating the rules and regulations and to make changes when appropriate- to be proactive. To be responsive to the needs and wishes of our members will only improve the sport. SCCA is actively trying to make all amateur motor-sports more accessible. Shouldn’t we being doing the same for autocrossing


That's most likely because we just did that over the past several years and ended up here. Being newer to our ranks, you just missed it. It wasn't exaclly a pleasant process, and you're not going to find many people eager to start again so soon.


If you'd like a little taste of the discussion that happened in 2013 that brought us to the rules as they are now:

Original "Street Class" proposal (not the ~400 letters that the SEB reviewed based on the initial proposal that was a couple months before this)
http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/ass ... y-solo.pdf
You may notice that the original proposal included some limited camber allowances, but there were later removed:
http://scca.cdn.racersites.com/prod/ass ... e-solo.pdf


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