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Old 09-20-2012, 04:14 PM   #1
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DOT/Competition Tires for 2012

All,
I have a 2012 Focus Hatch with sport package and manual. I want to take it to do some HPDE events in the spring, but don't want to use the regular rims and tires. A second set of rims and dedicated tires would be good. I've been digging around, but I'm having a hard time finding DOT/Competition tires that will fit 15" wheels. I am leaning towards 15" rims because they and the tires are cheaper, and I want to reduce unsprung weight.

What are the FoFo track nuts using on their 2012's? I want decent performance on a budget. What are you guys using? I checked the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Focus ST site but they are running BBS 17".


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Old 09-20-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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There really isn't any "budget" competition tires. These tend to be serious tires and cost serious dollars. Right now would be a good time to be checking for used tires. Check local SCCA and NASA web sites. Many track guys will be selling this years tires as they don't want to store them. Most of the major tire makers have race tires in 15" diameter as well. Here's a few:
Kumho v710, BFG Gforce R-1 and R-1s, Hankook Ventue z214, Hoosier A6 and R6, Toyo Proxes R888, RA1 and Yoko Advan A048
All of these are available from the Tirerack.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
There really isn't any "budget" competition tires. These tend to be serious tires and cost serious dollars. Right now would be a good time to be checking for used tires. Check local SCCA and NASA web sites. Many track guys will be selling this years tires as they don't want to store them. Most of the major tire makers have race tires in 15" diameter as well. Here's a few:
Kumho v710, BFG Gforce R-1 and R-1s, Hankook Ventue z214, Hoosier A6 and R6, Toyo Proxes R888, RA1 and Yoko Advan A048
All of these are available from the Tirerack.
I get what you're saying. Let me explain budget. I know rubber is rubber, and I think there are good options for $600 for the set. What gets ridiculous is the rim setup and I don't want to spend a gazillion dollars on those. Is it wrong to think that I could spend a $1k on rims and tires for the track? Again, my goal isn't competition - I want to be able to drive on a track in a spirited manner and not destroy otherwise decent tires. I figure a couple of days on a standard set of all-season would have the tread destroyed and not performing consistently. A couple of days on a track tire won't be as detrimental when that's the purpose. From what I have seen, the DOT/Competition tires aren't any more expensive than a qualify all-season. Those Hanhooks on a 15" rim are 150/each.

Does that make sense?

Further, and this is where my ignorance comes through, I am nervous about mismatching rims and tires. How do I figure out what rims will fit on the car (if I shop outside of Tire Rack), and what size tires will fit on what rims? I get the diameter thing, but the first 2 number grouping is what loses me. I also know that a 17" rim can have a lot of different sidewall heights, but I am uncomfortable guessing what is a safe sidewall side to run.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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If you plan to track your I would avoid 15". Might want to think about 16"s at the smallest wheels. Actually, if your are just starting out with Hpde, you might learn more driving on your all seasons.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macdiesel View Post
If you plan to track your I would avoid 15". Might want to think about 16"s at the smallest wheels. Actually, if your are just starting out with Hpde, you might learn more driving on your all seasons.
I have spent time on the track but in much faster cars with some instruction. I decided I need to learn to drive a slow car fast, rather than a fast car slow. It was a humbling experience, to say the least.

But you could be right, and if that's the route to go, then I'm fine with that. After my first lap around the track, I was able to leave my ego in the pits. I just don't want to destroy a set of completely good all seasons after a day or two and my understanding was that track tires are better suited, and considering I am looking at a "new" set of rims and tires, I start there.
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Old 09-20-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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There are several small outfits that sell used but still very serviceable full on slicks or R rated compound tires. SOme are advertising in Grassroots Motorsports magazine. You could probably Google used race tires. Don't go any wider than stock.

I would use 16" wheels. 15 would be good for autocross, but you need more tire for racetrack use. There are lots of 16" tires out there.

Wheels need to be true and straight. A damaged wheel, even slightly damaged or warped, can cause lots of problems at high speeds. Get a good set from Tire Rack, and buy used R compound tires. I think Tire Rack has a good tutorial on tire nomenclature, and that will help you immensely.

Proper inflation is also critical. Start a little low on pressure, as the air in the tires expands as it heats up. Get a good tire pressure guage and measure pressure and adjust after every run. Tire temps are important, too.


Have fun!

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:19 PM   #7
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I found this site, not sure if its legit, I haven't used myself:

http://www.johnbtires.com/category.php?category=1

Some R6s will probably work nicely.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:23 PM   #8
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You could also look into the current crop of autox "street" tires. These summer performance tires handle abuse and heat much better than your typical flippy floppy, over siped all season grandpa touring tire.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macdiesel View Post
If you plan to track your I would avoid 15". Might want to think about 16"s at the smallest wheels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerbay View Post
I would use 16" wheels. 15 would be good for autocross, but you need more tire for racetrack use. There are lots of 16" tires out there.
why not 15s. two responses promoting 16" with no posted reasons.

in terms of race tires, 15" is WAY more common so you have a great selection of tires of many widths to fit any budget.

essentially all 15" wheels will clear the brakes on a 2012. and the wheels and tires are lighter. so, win win in my books.

225/50R15 would be a good size for you and is quite common. It will just fit on a 15x7 wheel, although 7.5 or 8" would be prefered.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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why not 15s. two responses promoting 16" with no posted reasons.

in terms of race tires, 15" is WAY more common so you have a great selection of tires of many widths to fit any budget.

essentially all 15" wheels will clear the brakes on a 2012. and the wheels and tires are lighter. so, win win in my books.

225/50R15 would be a good size for you and is quite common. It will just fit on a 15x7 wheel, although 7.5 or 8" would be prefered.
I don't know about way more 15 than 16. Forged 16 wheels are lighter than cast 15. The shorter tire is like a lower gear. You do need to wind the car out on the straights, tuck it in for the curves, and with the electronic management on the newer cars, the rotational speed of the smaller outside tire may interfere with the traction control. 16 also have a greater contact patch than a 15, giving more grip and braking. 225/50 seems like a lot of sidewall to me for a track tire.. More sidewall, more squirm. Less sidewall, stiffer.

Again, opinions are like tailholes, everybody has one. I have a Porsche 944 S2 that I do track, and use 16 instead of 18 due to price. If they were the same price, I'd go with the 18. No way would I step down to 15's.
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