Watch How Your Tires and Suspension Handle an Autocross Event
There's a lot going on where the rubber meets the road.
Two things you should never skimp out on maintaining—and people absolutely do, because they're both pretty expensive at the higher end—are your tires and suspension. You can have all the horsepower in the world, but that doesn't matter if the car can't keep it together thanks to bum tires or a busted tie rod.
A video posted on YouTube and shared on Reddit today illustrates exactly why that is. User Muffin Racing pointed a camera at the rear driver's-side tire on his fourth-gen Honda Civic hatchback during a recent autocross run. He states in the description it was originally his wife's idea to catch the tire lifting off the ground, which they did, but they also managed to capture a fascinating look at how the tires and suspension respond to the extreme forces involved with a competitive driving event.
He's reportedly running on 205/50 R15 Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R tires, Enkei RPF1 7" wide wheels, and Koni Sport dampers. Watching the wheel lift is a hoot, but its the camber changes and tire flex that really get our attention. Muffin Racing breaks it down in the video, demonstrating how the wheel locks up when lifted, then hits the ground again in a puff of smoke—the intense friction actually liquefies a patch of rubber on tire, and the way the temperature differential on the tire evens out depends on the camber of the wheel and the size of the tire's contact patch on the ground.
And speaking of camber, it's also interesting to watch how both the suspension and tire work together to accommodate the change in camber on sharp turns. Check out the full run below: