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Old 05-20-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
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Default Please help me understand...

To start, I'm recently an off-road convert. I enjoy speed and am attracted to Mod TC (even though majority of the year I'll have to run stock).

At the risk of being called a n00b or something else, I'm trying to grasp the need for spec tires in an open class. While you occasionally see it in off-road, it's not as common as in on-road. The off-road races I have attended, both regionally and locally, have never called for a spec tire.

However, what I'm finding with on-road is that even some club races are calling for spec tires in an "open" class, and I'm trying to understand why. Can somebody explain to me why a tire choice as part of the setup equation is bad? I can understand limiting the amount of tires (and commercially available) at an event to keep it fair for the average racer.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:35 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by J.Pietsch View Post
To start, I'm recently an off-road convert. I enjoy speed and am attracted to Mod TC (even though majority of the year I'll have to run stock).

At the risk of being called a n00b or something else, I'm trying to grasp the need for spec tires in an open class. While you occasionally see it in off-road, it's not as common as in on-road. The off-road races I have attended, both regionally and locally, have never called for a spec tire.

However, what I'm finding with on-road is that even some club races are calling for spec tires in an "open" class, and I'm trying to understand why. Can somebody explain to me why a tire choice as part of the setup equation is bad? I can understand limiting the amount of tires (and commercially available) at an event to keep it fair for the average racer.

Thanks in advance!

"Most" offroad tracks will not wear out a set of tires in 2-3 runs, the "premium" tires like a sorex can cost $40 a set, and some people would go as far as running one set per round. If you were to source the non premounts as parts, you could have 20-30 combinations of hardness/insert/rim stiffness all looking for that one that is magically a few .ths faster. In onroad that few .ths could mean laps on the field. Spec tires level this for cost and fairness, at least you know you got beat on driving/setup over magic tires.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:40 AM   #3
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These are the reasons I've seen tracks and/or clubs go to a SPEC Tire in Open Classes.

A) Cost

B) Piece of Mind - ie: an Out of Town racer can show up at a track w/ a SPEC Tire Rule and know he doesn't need to show up with 20 DIFFERENT Brands/Types of Tires. He only needs to know WHICH tires to show up with.

C) Sponsored Drivers with no tire budget testing and trying NEW Compounds that aren't available to EVERYONE
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #4
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Another reason for spec tires is that they are known to provide adequate performance at a given track/venue. The last thing you want on a small indoor track is for a Mod TC novice to be spinning out in every turn. That creates a bad day for everyone.

I believe that rubber touring car racing used to be more open about the tire rules, but it had a direct negative affect on overall turn-outs.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:40 PM   #5
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I appreciate the responses so far. I'm not trying to troll or start a debate thread. Just coming from off-road, it wasn't a topic ever. Sure if you were travelling you'd ask what tires worked and made sure you had them, but it was never mandated.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:49 PM   #6
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Anybody remember Proline S2 compound sedan tires? The ones that would last four minutes? We went from running HPI x patterns (which would last for like 10-15 race days) to those that were a second and a half a lap faster, but cost $30 a run. Good times.

Lets bring them back!
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by J.Pietsch View Post
I appreciate the responses so far. I'm not trying to troll or start a debate thread. Just coming from off-road, it wasn't a topic ever. Sure if you were travelling you'd ask what tires worked and made sure you had them, but it was never mandated.
The big difference isn't the tires, it's in the inserts. When they were open inserts and spec tires, guys would have travelers full of inserts because one set would be a tenth or half a tenth faster. If that seems like a difference without distinction, if your doing 12.1 second laps and somebody else is doing 12.0s, after five minutes your 1/3 of a lap down.

And we didn't even get to the difference in wheel flex......
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Pietsch View Post
To start, I'm recently an off-road convert. I enjoy speed and am attracted to Mod TC (even though majority of the year I'll have to run stock).

At the risk of being called a n00b or something else, I'm trying to grasp the need for spec tires in an open class. While you occasionally see it in off-road, it's not as common as in on-road. The off-road races I have attended, both regionally and locally, have never called for a spec tire.

However, what I'm finding with on-road is that even some club races are calling for spec tires in an "open" class, and I'm trying to understand why. Can somebody explain to me why a tire choice as part of the setup equation is bad? I can understand limiting the amount of tires (and commercially available) at an event to keep it fair for the average racer.

Thanks in advance!
At the club level tires are generally open but I know of no bigger TC races that are not spec tire races.

The idea is to eliminate the potential for people to obtain tires or inserts that are not available to everyone. To this day, people re-use a Hara insert (forget which one) that is no longer available because it is better.

It also helps reduce costs by eliminating the need for racers to bring a variety of combinations to try.

Spec tires are standard at some off-road races as well. My guess is that all racing will be spec in some for of another (limited qty or compounds) within a few years.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:20 PM   #9
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Canadian Onroad Nationals (one of the largest races in North America, around 300 entries last year) is an open tire race, so essentially it's a Sorex 28 spec race, that allows for other choices that almost no one uses.
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CraigMBA View Post
Anybody remember Proline S2 compound sedan tires? The ones that would last four minutes? We went from running HPI x patterns (which would last for like 10-15 race days) to those that were a second and a half a lap faster, but cost $30 a run. Good times.

Lets bring them back!
Yep, I remember them well. I saw them being delivered to sponsored drivers at the 1997 ROAR On-Road Nats. That was really the first debut. I also remember them having to have a section cut out so they'd fit on the rims tight enough. Those tires were pretty awesome at the time....until the S3's came out
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Old 05-20-2014, 03:15 PM   #11
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I recently sorted out a found cache of tires I was getting ready to use @ the 1986 Winter Nats. This was just before I changed jobs and abandoned the hobby. Each set of tires and wheels cost $60 and was good for, according to the prep, between 7 and 20 minutes run time. I was taking 78 sets for the 5 day event.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CraigMBA View Post
Anybody remember Proline S2 compound sedan tires? The ones that would last four minutes? We went from running HPI x patterns (which would last for like 10-15 race days) to those that were a second and a half a lap faster, but cost $30 a run. Good times.

Lets bring them back!
Good lord, yes, I remember the S2's, I even remember the first time I tried them on an abrasive & HOT concrete parking lot track, & my car's setup was a bit"pushy", & that car chewed the set in ONE run, all the way down to the inserts. It did better after I got some help altering the setup & borrowed a slightly used set to finish the day. But it was HARD to get more than 2-3 runs out of a set before they lost all grip(they'd act like full-scale tires in that they'd get heat-cycled each run & that would harden the rubber each time, if you tried 4 or 5 runs in a day, by the end they were almost as hard as a hockey puck). By comparison, I LOVE today's premounts, they've come a LONG way with the compounds, & it really does save money over having a dozen different tire/wheel/insert combos to lug around everywhere, & that also means we have more time to think about the chassis setup & practicing....
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by IndyRC_Racer View Post
Another reason for spec tires is that they are known to provide adequate performance at a given track/venue. The last thing you want on a small indoor track is for a Mod TC novice to be spinning out in every turn. That creates a bad day for everyone.

I believe that rubber touring car racing used to be more open about the tire rules, but it had a direct negative affect on overall turn-outs.
That's a good point, too. At our track, Sweeps 28s are excellent and can last a long time. We ran Jaco Blues before but the tire tore easily. After switching to 28s, it made cars easier to drive and tires lasted longer.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by J.Pietsch View Post
Just coming from off-road, it wasn't a topic ever. Sure if you were travelling you'd ask what tires worked and made sure you had them, but it was never mandated.
It's a lot easier to see what tyres are being used in off road by the tread, which narrows down the choice of tyres even if you don't know the fastest tyres for the track.

In on road the foam insert and wheel size and stiffness are just as important as having the right tyre, and touring car racers tend to be more secretive about the exact combination they are using. If the tyres are open then the best combination can change throughout the day as the temperature changes and more rubber is laid on the track, and you could even end up changing the tyre combination every round or two.

I remember the old days of our UK nationals where we were limited to two sets of tyres, but the tyre choice was open. This meant you spent the previous day/week spending hundreds on every possible combination of tyre/insert/wheel and trying them all to find which is fastest, then buying two sets of them for the actual race.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:44 AM   #15
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...I remember the old days of our UK nationals where we were limited to two sets of tyres, but the tyre choice was open. This meant you spent the previous day/week spending hundreds on every possible combination of tyre/insert/wheel and trying them all to find which is fastest, then buying two sets of them for the actual race.
Precisely the reason for using a spec tire... No $100s of dollars worth of wasted research - instead, you buy the prescribed tire, and tune your car around it. Nothing's worse than learning that several hundred dollars worth of tire research goes out the window with the introduction of a new tire, wheel or insert.

All of the local tracks I frequent use a spec tire. If they didn't, I'd most likely race elsewhere, as I feel it's one of the easiest ways to keep racing fair while reducing the overall cost.
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