Best Racing Tires: Boost Your Speed and Performance

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

byPeter Nelson|
The Best Racing Tires
Peter Nelson

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

BYPeter Nelson/ LAST UPDATED ON July 20, 2023

Tires have a major impact on a vehicle’s handling dynamics. They're simply the most crucial part of the equation when making the most of your vehicle's power, brakes, and chassis—they're literally where the rubber hits the road. Especially for a high-performance vehicle, but even if you want to make the most any more modest platform in a track driving, drag racing, or autocross event.


Getting the right racing tires for your car will help bring out the best of any vehicle in every situation, including having assured safety and stability at high speeds. Let's discuss the top racing tires below that deliver the right level of performance at a variety of different types of high performance driving, as well as price points.

Best Overall

Mickey Thompson Racing Radial Tire

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
  • These tires are approved for street use by DOT
  • Offer very good ride stability
  • Well-designed and visually striking
Cons
  • Tires tend to wear out quickly
  • Balancing these units often requires a lot of weight
  • Traction in wet conditions is not adequate
Best Value

Toyo PROXES R888R

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
  • 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 and sharp response
  • Comes in a wide variety of sizes
Cons
  • Not the grippiest tire in its class
  • On the noisy side
  • Overall ride comfort is not impressive
Honorable Mention

Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire

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

Summary List of Racing Tires

Best Racing Tires Reviews & Recommendations

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.

Pros

Durable

Super high grip

Trusted name

OK in water

Cons

Expensive

Short tread life

Noisy

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.

Pros

Good tread life despite rating

Comes in a variety of popular sizes

Excellent turn-in and response

Great in damp conditions

Cons

Noisy

Not as grippy as other options

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.

Pros

Excellent price for the performance

Good grip at all temperatures

Strong sidewall

Cons

Only intended for dry, warm conditions

Maximum grip doesn't last as long as other tires'

These street-legal, 200-treadwear performance track tires are ideal for the enthusiast who wants good grip, long life, and a compound that won't overheat after repeated laps. This tire's assymetric tread pattern promotes even wear, as well as good grip in wet conditions. Even though its perfectly legal to drive with the V730 on the street, it rides a bit harshly due to its very stiff sidewall that's designed to maintain optimum traction under very hard cornering.

Pros

Excellent performance for the price

Good grip that doesn't fall off after repeated laps on track

Even wear

Lower wear than other 200 treadwear tires

Cons

Ride quite harshly

Not as grippy as other tires in its price range

This 200-treadwear tire is a great entry level compound for folks who are looking to jump on track or participate in autocross. They aren't the grippiest tire in the world, but don't lose too much grip as they get hot, and it's very easy to figure out when they're about to reach their limit. Because of their cheaper price, they are one of the loudest compounds, so beware if you're concerned about daily-ability.

Pros

Grip holds up on track

Communicative

Good cost of entry

Cons

Very loud on the street

Not the grippiest, but they're sturdy

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.

Pros

Incredible grip

Great price

Good stability

Cons

Meant for quarter mile runs on the track, only

Very soft compound that is unsafe on the street in any capacity

Our Verdict

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

When it comes to being also being fast in the corners, Toyo PROXES R888R Automotive-Racing Radial Tire offers balanced performance at a much more affordable price.

FAQs

You've got questions. The Drive has answers.

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

A. 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?

A. 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: What are key benefits of racing tires?

A. They're 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.

Q: What should I keep in mind during my search for good racing tires?

A. 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.

Q: What are some tips for racing tires?

A. 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 meant for 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, as well as the stickier compound and how the tread blocks are arranged. It is best to choose a less noisy model if you are looking for a quiet ride.

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

A. 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.

Q: What can I expect to pay for racing tires?

A. 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.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more
stripe