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Are "expensive" tires really worth it for racing?

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  • 2 Post By gigaplex
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Are "expensive" tires really worth it for racing?

Old 02-28-2024, 07:22 AM
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Default Are "expensive" tires really worth it for racing?

I have the 1/8 e-buggy class in mind, but it really applies to almost any racing class. Do the tires from the big name ("expensive") tire brands like Proline, JConcepts, AKA, etc. really perform significantly better than the cut-rate brands like Procircuit and GRP? All other things being equal (car setup, power system, track conditions, driver, etc.) is it really worth it for the average joe club racer to spend more on those "expensive" brands or do you really need to be at a pro level to notice a difference?

Granted I can afford the "expensive" tire brands, but when a cut-rate brand offers basically a clone tread pattern in the same labeled softness compound, it's hard to justify spending more. I'd rather spend $40 for a set of mounted GRP tires than $80 on a set of Prolines, but am I missing out on $40 worth of performance?

Sometimes when I'm turn marshalling I see other cars that look like they're absolutely stuck to the track like velcro and it makes me wonder if those "expensive" tires are the secret, if they have the ideal car setup, or maybe a little bit of both. Perhaps I just need to do a little experiment and invest in a few sets of those "expensive" tires to see for myself.

What has been your experience?
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Old 02-28-2024, 06:47 PM
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Setup is 80% tyres. I'm not going to claim that expensive tyres are always better, but you're potentially sacrificing a lot of performance if you pick the wrong tyre just to save on costs.

I'd recommend copying the tyre choice of the fast guys at the track and see if it makes a noticeable difference for you.
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Old 02-28-2024, 09:47 PM
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My exp is that with grip. Your tire choice will come into play yes. It's a variable and shouldn't be skipped on. Cleaning and prep and sauce are also factors.
the surface. Ect. I've only ever ran rtr tires and expensive and the diffrence was night and day.
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Old 02-29-2024, 03:24 AM
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I agree it's not about more expensive being automatically better. It's not even about certain manufacturers being better than others. Most of them have quite a large line-up of different tires - and they all are made for specific conditions. So even when tire A of manufacturer X is the fastest for your track, it doesn't mean it lasts the longest. Or that tires B, C, D and E of the same manufacturer will be any good at all. Tire F of manufacturer Y may be slightly slower, but last much longer (and still be faster than tires B,C,D and E).

Tire choice is a science (or an art form) in itself. That's why classes with spec tires got more and more popular (especially in On-Road). Takes the guessing out and does't require you to have 1-2 dozen sets of different tires in your pit bag.
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Old 02-29-2024, 08:49 AM
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Too many variables to cover all conditions, typically name brands offer more compounds and tread patterns so that's what you're paying more for, along with the markup to cover "contracted driver discounts".

Take Dialed-RC for example, they're about to introduce a brand new brand of tires to the market with 11 tread patterns and 10 different compounds coming from 3 different rubber manufacturers.

Once you figure out what compound and tread pattern works best for your track, then you can fine tune with various blends of sauce to get a hybrid compound in between.

A budget brand may hit the sweet spot on any given day but it may not do as well when track conditions change.

Many locals in my area have ditched their contracted driver deals and started running Sweep because they sell tires without inserts to save money for those who recycle their inserts and wheels. Dialed-RC is also offering a tire only deal as well to help keep costs down.
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Old 03-01-2024, 06:10 AM
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You need the right tires for the track.. if they happen to be the expensive tires.. then yes, they are worth it.. so how do you know what the right tire is? Check what the locals are using, they probably tried them all..
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Old 03-01-2024, 08:14 AM
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If you don't have the right tires you may as well just stay home.

The world of rubber compounds is vast and deep. Just because two different tires have a similar tread and similar hardness, they may not drive the same at all.

The cheapest and least risky tire to buy is whatever the fast guys run. Otherwise you need to be willing to buy multiple tires to test for yourself to see what's fastest and that definitely won't be cheap.
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Old 03-01-2024, 08:21 AM
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Also: remember the tires are the only parts that connect the car to the ground for all intents and purposes. Makes'em kinda important...
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Old 03-01-2024, 07:42 PM
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my only experience is with SCT and running RTR tires vs proline slicks on a clay track was worth seconds off each lap. Prep the slicks and it's another second or two. depends on the track and class of course.
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