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LAST UPDATED:  October 23, 2019

Best Racing Tires: Boost Your Speed and Performance

These are the top racing tires to get if you want to enjoy a speedy ride.

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PUBLISHED ON October 23, 2019

Tires have a major impact on a vehicle’s dynamics and are particularly important for a high-performance vehicle. Getting the right racing tires for your car will help bring the best out of the vehicle in every situation, including the right grip and balance at high speeds. In the buying guide below we list the top racing tires that deliver the right level of performance.

Best Overall
Mickey Thompson Racing Radial Tire
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Summary
Summary

The tire has tubeless radial construction for strength. The use of a special R2 compound provides superior traction. The minimum tread void delivers better hydroplaning resistance and improved tread contact.

Pros
Pros
  • These tires are approved for street use by DOT
  • Offer very good ride stability
  • Well-designed and visually striking
Cons
Cons
  • Tires tend to wear out quickly
  • Balancing these units often requires a lot of weight
  • Traction in wet conditions is not adequate
Best Overall
Mickey Thompson Racing Radial Tire
Best Value
Toyo Proxes TQ Drag Tire
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Summary
Summary

The tire uses an optimized tread pattern and a special tread compound for a superior grip. The design also minimizes road noise at high speeds. It also maintains a stable surface contact for better straight-line performance.

Pros
Pros
  • Asymmetric tread design improves dry traction
  •  Designed with two distinct tread areas suited for both street and track use
  • Stability control slits maintain tire stiffness during forceful braking
Cons
Cons
  • Tires are not suitable for wet conditions
  • Built for lighter loads
  • Overall ride comfort is not impressive
Best Value
Toyo Proxes TQ Drag Tire
Honorable Mention
Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire
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Summary
Summary

The tire comes with a solid center rib that provides constant contact for better traction. The oversized shoulder blocks improve straight-line stability. The use of a racing-specific compound enhances traction.

Pros
Pros
  • Tire provides superior traction on dry surfaces
  • Stability and handling at high speeds are impressive
  • Tire is also quite durable
Cons
Cons
  • Traction levels suffer in wet or cold conditions
  • Road noise at higher speeds
  • Ride comfort levels are mediocre at best
Honorable Mention
Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Racing Tires

  • Safer. High performance racing tires are safer because they resist heat buildup, especially on hot summer days. Tires normally heat up as you drive. Overheated tires can wear out prematurely and are more likely to explode. The best racing tires increase steering response and decrease stopping distance on dry and wet surfaces.
  • Better handling. Performance tires are made from soft rubber, which improves their road surface grip. They make it easier to steer around tight corners. They are also lighter and make cars go faster, which is better for drivers. Racing tires with wide grooves prevent hydroplaning by expelling water beneath them.
  • Great speed. The higher the speed rating of a racing tire, the better its performance. For example, a tire with a “H” speed rating is approved for speeds up to 130 mph. An all-season racing tire with “H” and “V” speed ratings can go up to 149 mph. Some tires have speed ratings ranging from “V” to “Y” and are approved for speeds up to 186 mph. 
  • Better traction. Racecar tires are wider and have treads that grip better. Their large surface areas help them stick to tracks perfectly. This means you’ll be able to brake easily, especially at shorter braking distances. The tires maintain superb traction, even in wet weather. 

Types of Racing Tires

Ultra-High Performance 

Ultra-high performance tires can be summer or all-season. The all-season models work well on both dry and wet roads. They offer responsive handling and good traction with enhanced wet grip. Summer racing tires improve steering, are great for corner driving, and have “V” speed ratings or higher.

Extreme Performance

Go for these tires if you want the highest level of street performance. They have maximum dry-grip and are perfect for competition-level performance. However, it’s worth mentioning that they aren’t the most comfortable tires because they are meant for drivers who like to “feel the road.” Also, they don't handle well in wet conditions and have minimal wet traction. 

High Performance 

High performance racing tires can also be all-season or summer. They handle reasonably well and have good traction. They are ideal for drivers looking for good handling, improved grip, and responsiveness; those who don't mind sacrificing ride comfort, tire lifespan, and gas mileage to gain better control on the road. These tires are built for performance and have different speed ratings.

Max Performance

These tires offer superior performance on both dry and wet surfaces and are ideal for drivers who want top speeds. You can also use them in wet conditions because they have good grip and tread patterns that prevent hydroplaning. They are designed to last, but they are not meant for daily driving or for use during winter. 

Top Brands

Bridgestone 

Based in Japan, Bridgestone manufactures tires under the Bridgestone and Firestone brands. Between 2008 and 2016, the company was recognized as the best tire producer (that’s eight years straight!). It’s still a leader in the industry and now focuses on developing environmentally friendly tires. Bridgestone’s run-flat tires feature innovative technology and are designed to keep your car moving for up to 50 miles after a puncture. Enjoy Bridgestone's racing-inspired technology with the Bridgestone Potenza Ultra High-Performance tire.

Michelin 

Michelin has its headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and is one of the top-selling tire brands worldwide. It gives lengthy mileage warranties, up to 80,000 miles for some models. The company also offers a limited six-year warranty for manufacturer defects. Michelin manufactures tires for cars, ATVs, motorcycles, heavy-duty trucks, and even airplanes. The MICHELIN Sport Cup 2 Tire goes as fast on dry tracks as it does on wet tracks. Get it if you want a versatile tire.

Goodyear 

This American company was established in Akron, Ohio, by Frank Seiberling and has been in operation since in 1898. Its tires are a bit pricey but more durable. The company initially produced rubber horseshoe pads, bicycle and carriage tires, and poker chips. It now manufactures tires for all types of vehicles, including motorsports vehicles and off-road trucks. Its tires outperform other tires in handling, acceleration, and braking. If you're an avid racer, you've got to try the Goodyear Eagle F1 Radial Tire. It features Combination Grip technology for excellent grip and cornering. 

Racing Tires Pricing

  • Under $200: It's difficult to find race car tires in this price range. But there are a few gems with superior cornering, braking, and traction capabilities. 
  • $200 and up: Many of the tires here are ultra-high performance and extreme performance. Some are specifically designed for supercars and exotics. The tires have good handling abilities, incredible grip, and excellent tread wear. Most are all-season tires. 

Key Features

Traction 

The best race car tires have good traction. This is an essential feature because it ensures tires stick to the road when a car is moving at high speeds. Good traction is also important for making sharp turns. Without traction, tires won’t roll on the road and will simply slide. Traction ensures tires stop, start, and steer as needed. Tire traction is measured from high to low using the grades AA, A, B, or C. The “A” category has the strongest tires. Even at higher speeds, they offer good traction on both dry and wet surfaces. 

Tread Pattern

The tread pattern is defined by grooves, continuous ribs, tread blocks, sipes. It provides traction and handling, minimizes road-noise, and reduces tire wear. Regular tires have different tread patterns, unlike race car tires which have no tread at all. Tires without tread offer better traction in dry conditions, making a car move faster. If the ground is wet, you can’t use these tires because they will hydroplane. 

Fuel Efficiency 

The tires you buy will determine your car’s fuel consumption. For instance, smaller tires increase fuel efficiency because they are lightweight, while larger tires decrease it because they are heavier. In addition, bigger tires have a high rolling resistance compared to smaller tires. This means they need more resistance to keep rolling. Tires with a low rolling resistance have a smaller contact patch, which means less friction. They save gas because they use a little fuel to start, speed up, and stop a car. Drag tires make your car work harder, consuming more fuel in the process.  

Other Considerations

  • Tire Warranty. Most manufacturers provide tread warranty and defect protection. A few offer a road hazard warranty, which is helpful if you get a flat tire. It’s best to get tires with a warranty because you won't have to pay for it separately. But take time to scrutinize the warranty. Some warranties come with many conditions that may prevent you from getting reimbursed. Manufacturers also conduct thorough checks to verify if your warranty claim is valid. 
  • Tread Wear. Generally, racing tires have a shorter tread life because they endure harsh driving conditions. You can refer to the tread-wear grade to get an idea of how long your tires are likely to last. The grade indicates a tire's relative wear rate. The higher it is, the longer it will take for the tread to wear down. You can also use the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) system to check a tire’s treadwear, traction, and temperature resistance. Tire longevity is usually influenced by your driving habits, the climate, road conditions, and the manufacturer’s tread-wear estimate. 
  • Tire Size. For safety purposes, it's best to choose the right tire size. Improperly fitting tires are a hazard because they exert additional pressure on the tire heel. They may also get detached when you're driving, causing road accidents. You can check the tire specifications on the sticker found inside the driver’s door or in the car manual. 

Best Racing Tires Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall

These durable and stable tires have a 6-inch tread depth and fit 20-inch wheels. The aspect ratio is 35 and the diameter is 28.4 inches. These impressive tires have a polyester-ply with a steel belt reinforcing the strength of the tire. The tubeless radial construction provides strength to the tire for increased control and maneuverability on the road. The unique compound of these tires will give you instant traction. This reduces the amount of burnout required. The minimal tread also contributes to increased traction when on dry surfaces. The tread grooves that are present prevents hydroplaning. 


Unfortunately, these tires have a very short tread life. Expect to get a couple of hundred miles out of them. However, this is typical of tires meant for racing.

Best Overall
Mickey Thompson Racing Radial Tire

These durable and stable tires have a 6-inch tread depth and fit 20-inch wheels. The aspect ratio is 35 and the diameter is 28.4 inches. These impressive tires have a polyester-ply with a steel belt reinforcing the strength of the tire. The tubeless radial construction provides strength to the tire for increased control and maneuverability on the road. The unique compound of these tires will give you instant traction. This reduces the amount of burnout required. The minimal tread also contributes to increased traction when on dry surfaces. The tread grooves that are present prevents hydroplaning. 


Unfortunately, these tires have a very short tread life. Expect to get a couple of hundred miles out of them. However, this is typical of tires meant for racing.

Best Value

These racing tires are designed to take you from the drag strip to the street. This lets you drive to the track on the same tires you plan to compete with. You’ll have racing looks and performance but also convenience. The rubber compound and reduced tread depth on these tires make them super sticky on dry pavement. You’ll appreciate the maximized grip for a stronger launch off the line. What makes this tire stand out is the asymmetrical tread pattern. The variable outboard pitch reduces road noise while street driving. The inner semi-slick area gives independent rear suspension vehicles more traction. 


One drawback of these tires is that they do not perform well on wet roads or through standing water. Near freezing temperatures, ice, and snow are also unsafe when using these tires. 

Best Value
Toyo Proxes TQ Drag Tire

These racing tires are designed to take you from the drag strip to the street. This lets you drive to the track on the same tires you plan to compete with. You’ll have racing looks and performance but also convenience. The rubber compound and reduced tread depth on these tires make them super sticky on dry pavement. You’ll appreciate the maximized grip for a stronger launch off the line. What makes this tire stand out is the asymmetrical tread pattern. The variable outboard pitch reduces road noise while street driving. The inner semi-slick area gives independent rear suspension vehicles more traction. 


One drawback of these tires is that they do not perform well on wet roads or through standing water. Near freezing temperatures, ice, and snow are also unsafe when using these tires. 

Honorable Mention

These DOT-compliant drag tires are designed for the car owner serious about competition and performance. The tire features a specialized rubber compound with an enhanced sidewall construction to give you maximum stability and traction. The sidewall has an internal layer of high-modulus bead filler to increase straight-line performance. Combine this with the wide and flat center patch, and you have even pressure distribution across the tread for maximum grip. This gives you the most longitudinal launch ability while still maintaining stability. When on the street, you’ll appreciate the large block tread on the outer areas to reduce noise and increase ride comfort. 


Unfortunately, while you can legally use these tires on the street, they aren’t safe for use on wet, icy, snowy, or near-freezing roads. They also come in a very limited set of sizes.

Honorable Mention
Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire

These DOT-compliant drag tires are designed for the car owner serious about competition and performance. The tire features a specialized rubber compound with an enhanced sidewall construction to give you maximum stability and traction. The sidewall has an internal layer of high-modulus bead filler to increase straight-line performance. Combine this with the wide and flat center patch, and you have even pressure distribution across the tread for maximum grip. This gives you the most longitudinal launch ability while still maintaining stability. When on the street, you’ll appreciate the large block tread on the outer areas to reduce noise and increase ride comfort. 


Unfortunately, while you can legally use these tires on the street, they aren’t safe for use on wet, icy, snowy, or near-freezing roads. They also come in a very limited set of sizes.

Best Traction Free Racing Tires

These unique tires use advanced technology to mold the rubber into a high-performance herringbone woven internal belt. Wrapped around the belt is a soft S3 rubber compound for the most stability. These tires stand out because they’re designed to be no-prep drag racing tires. They’re specifically designed to not balloon or expand during use. This lets you apply maximum power while maintaining traction and stability. There’s no tread pattern on these tires, so the tire’s entire width will be in contact with the road. 


The downside of this tire is that they are super smooth. They aren’t designed for driving on the road. They also have a maximum speed rating of 90 miles per hour or 7,000 RPMs. Go over this, and you’ll permanently damage the internal belt.

Best Traction Free Racing Tires
Pro-line Racing Reaction HP S3 Drag Tires

These unique tires use advanced technology to mold the rubber into a high-performance herringbone woven internal belt. Wrapped around the belt is a soft S3 rubber compound for the most stability. These tires stand out because they’re designed to be no-prep drag racing tires. They’re specifically designed to not balloon or expand during use. This lets you apply maximum power while maintaining traction and stability. There’s no tread pattern on these tires, so the tire’s entire width will be in contact with the road. 


The downside of this tire is that they are super smooth. They aren’t designed for driving on the road. They also have a maximum speed rating of 90 miles per hour or 7,000 RPMs. Go over this, and you’ll permanently damage the internal belt.

Best Affordable Performance Racing Tires

Achieve faster lap times with this DOT approved competition race tire. The improved tread design and contact patch give you more precise dry handling. This puts more tire rubber in contact with the road. The asymmetrical tread design helps you maintain that traction and control through the turns. There are large tread blocks on the outside for maximum lateral grip. The water evacuation channels help this tire to perform even on wet roads. A deep center rib improved straight-line stability and precise steering. This tire stands out for its rubber compound. It reaches the optimal temperature quickly and consistently performs. 


The downside of these tires is that they don’t last all that long. However, this is a common characteristic of racing tires. You may find that the center channel sacrifices turning performance for straight-line stability. 

Best Affordable Performance Racing Tires
Toyo Tires Proxes Automotive-Racing Radial Tire

Achieve faster lap times with this DOT approved competition race tire. The improved tread design and contact patch give you more precise dry handling. This puts more tire rubber in contact with the road. The asymmetrical tread design helps you maintain that traction and control through the turns. There are large tread blocks on the outside for maximum lateral grip. The water evacuation channels help this tire to perform even on wet roads. A deep center rib improved straight-line stability and precise steering. This tire stands out for its rubber compound. It reaches the optimal temperature quickly and consistently performs. 


The downside of these tires is that they don’t last all that long. However, this is a common characteristic of racing tires. You may find that the center channel sacrifices turning performance for straight-line stability. 

Tips

  • Before buying new racing tires, check the load rating and make sure that it can support the load of the vehicle without any problems.
  • Racing tires are not the ideal choice in wet and snowy conditions. It is best that you use other all-season tires in that type of weather to ensure safety.
  • All tires make some noise at higher speeds due to the flow of air through the treads. It is best to choose a less noisy model if you are looking for a quiet ride.

FAQs

Q: How do I choose the right tire size for my vehicle?

The tire size should be included in the owner's manual. You can also check the specifications on the sidewalls of your existing tires to find out the size required.

Q: What is the speed rating of a tire?

The speed rating indicates the speed that a tire can safely handle. It is generally indicated in the tire specifications through the letters M to Z. Tires with a higher rating also handle better at lower speeds.

 Q: Can I use a tubeless tire along with a tube tire?

To get the best performance out of the vehicle in all driving conditions and to ensure that it handles properly, it is best to use the same type of tires on all wheels.

Final Thoughts

With its superior traction and good ride stability, the Mickey Thompson Racing Radial Tire is our top pick as the best racing tire. 

The Toyo Proxes TQ Drag Tire offers balanced performance at a much more affordable price.