Moving up one level in summer performance our next post covers summer-only tires that provide the best in response and warm-weather (wet and dry) grip but are not suitable at all for driving in even light snow. A tire in one of these categories will be found as original equipment on all sports cars and fitted on most enthusiasts cars.
Based on experience, manufacturer data and extensive research the three tires we've selected represent the best in their respective categories. We class our picks into three categories based on ascending levels of performance and response.
Ultra High Performance (UHP):
Tires in this category offer a lot of usable grip under dry and wet summer conditions along with sharp steering response. Tires in this category will still retain reasonable comfort and noise transmission levels vs. max and extreme performance tires. Most tires in this category will bear at least a "W" speed rating (up to 270 km/h) or higher
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
At time of writing this is the newest tire in the Ultra High Performance category. While a new product in North America this tire has been sold outside of North America as the Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 where it has received high marks. Preliminary testing of the Firestone-branded tire has been very positive leading us to place this as our UHP tire to have in 2017!
Max performance tires offer another level of dry and wet grip vs. UHP tires, with tread designs that more efficiently evacuate water at the high speeds. The rubber compounding tolerates high temperatures much better, usually at the expense of tire tread wear. Speed ratings in this class generally cover a range from V (240km/h) to Y (300km/h).
Michelin Pilot Super Sport 4S
For the last few years the outgoing Michelin Pilot Super Sport (PSS) has been the class of the field when it comes to high performance summer tires. Media outlets like Car and Driver have lauded the blend of amazing dry and wet traction that makes the PSS a legendary tire. As good as that tire is, Michelin are introducing a much anticipated replacement tire, the PSS 4S. Improved compounding and tread design promise even more dry and wet performance while still maintaining the PSS' 50,000KM warranty! This tire is expected to be available starting in March 2017.
This specialist class offers the highest levels of dry and wet traction in a summer tire. The most extreme super cars are equipped with tires from this category along with being the tire of choice for many autocross racers and high performance driving enthusiasts. The best in this class represent the pinnacle of summer street tire traction.
This is the Japanese manufacturer's fastest street radial tire and is our top pick in the most extreme category of summer high performance tires. The RE-71R has proven itself countless times to be a phenomenal tire for high-horsepower cars or autocross and lapping day participants needing sticky but street able tire.
Contact us to find out more about these and other summer tire options. In our next installment we kick it up another notch and go through our DOT legal race tire selections.