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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BY Suvajit Banerjee / LAST UPDATED 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.
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.
- These tires are approved for street use by DOT
- Offer very good ride stability
- Well-designed and visually striking
- Tires tend to wear out quickly
- Balancing these units often requires a lot of weight
- Traction in wet conditions is not adequate
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.
- 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
- Tires are not suitable for wet conditions
- Built for lighter loads
- Overall ride comfort is not impressive
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.
- Tire provides superior traction on dry surfaces
- Stability and handling at high speeds are impressive
- Tire is also quite durable
- Traction levels suffer in wet or cold conditions
- Road noise at higher speeds
- Ride comfort levels are mediocre at best
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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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.