I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can have all the power and braking in the world, but if your car doesn’t have good tires, then it’s just a waste of performance. Those four (or three, or two) little contact patches on the road surface can make all the difference. Here’s proof that they do.
Tyre Reviews brings us another look at how tires can affect your car’s performance—this time giving us a side-by-side track comparison between a set of Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 performance road tires and Dunlop Sport Maxx Race track day tires. They fitted them both on two Honda Civic Type Rs and drove both around the same track.
Host Jonathan Benson believed he could be faster than British Touring Car champ Gordon Shedden if he used the track tires while Shedden stayed with the road tires. (Spoiler, Benson was 0.2 seconds faster on his second run).
But the interesting thing is by how much the two drivers were able to improve their own times between the two tires. Benson’s time improved by 1.4 seconds and Shedden’s improved by 1.8.
While this might not seem like a lot, keep in mind that they were driving on a reasonably small track with lap times of about one minute. If you were to do this same test on a much longer track, like the Nürburgring, the differences would be much larger.
In fact, Lamborghini showed us not too long ago what a difference a set of tires can make.