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Old 06-15-2016, 07:06 AM   #1
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Question on tires for first HDPE

I have my first HPDE coming up in mid-July at Mosport. My 2003 S is bone-stock with 59,000 miles, except for its IMSB which has been replaced with the LN single row pro. I have 2 sets of stock wheels with factory spec/sized tires - 18 inch Light Carreras with Michelin Pilot Sport 2's and 17 inch wheels with the 5 double spokes also with Michelin Pilot Sport 2's. I use the 17 inch wheels for daily driving and these tires are almost brand new. The tires on the 18 inch wheels are older but not old, and have plenty of tread left. I'm thinking of putting the 18 inch wheels on the car for my trip to Mosport. The drive from home to the track is just over 500 miles. I'd probably like the drive a little better on the 17 inch wheels but the difference is slight, and I've taken similar length trips with the 18's in the past. If the track driving is going to put significant wear on the tires, I'd prefer to do that to the 18 inch tires.

I think the track handling would be slightly better on the 18's, but this is my first outing and I have a lot to learn. I think I'm more concerned about tire wear, but am looking for some input from people who've done some HPDE events. In daily driving I seem to do very well with tire wear, all my tire replacements have happened due to road hazard damage well before the tread has worn down.

As an aside my only previous track experience was at Lime Rock a couple of times in the mid 1980's in a stock 1981 RX-7. Then this past April I got to do 4 laps in a Lamborghini Hurrican LP 610 and 4 laps in a Porsche 991 Turbo at a corporate event at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas. Back in the 80's, it was called Time Trials, everyone in the same class went out to practice together with passing only on the straights, then you got a couple of chances to drive your car with only one other car half way around the track so you could go for a lap time. Having an instructor drive you around the track was optional.

Anyways, thanks for any advice you can provide on tires to use for the HPDE!

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Old 06-15-2016, 10:09 AM   #2
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I would use the 18s, no use wearing out your daily shoes.

Regardless which route you go, give those tires some time to warm up. Don't dive into the 1st turn going hotter than a pistol or you'll end up in a spot of bother. When I DE'd with PS2s, it took a half lap (over a mile) on my local track to get them warmed up.

Rocking your car back and forth like they do on a NASCAR restart will not warm up street tires. Straight ahead will work, but it takes a while to get them warmed up.

Super Sports are pretty good right out of the shoot.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:27 AM   #3
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17"s will be more forgiving and you will feel the car more in cornering due to the thicker sidewalls but the 18"s will ultimately gives you more traction.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:07 PM   #4
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Thanks, this is going to be my first HDPE. I'll be in the green group and only driving with an instructor. From what I understand, the instructor will drive me around for a few laps in the first session and after that, I'll be driving with the instructor as my passenger for the rest of the sessions. I'm not envisioning that I'll be driving to the point where my tires will be slipping, so should I expect they will wear that much?
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:22 PM   #5
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Thanks, this is going to be my first HDPE. I'll be in the green group and only driving with an instructor. From what I understand, the instructor will drive me around for a few laps in the first session and after that, I'll be driving with the instructor as my passenger for the rest of the sessions. I'm not envisioning that I'll be driving to the point where my tires will be slipping, so should I expect they will wear that much?
Oh yeah.

For reference, after 8 autocrosses and about 5000 street miles, my Michelin SuperSports are 90% shot.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:41 PM   #6
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Thanks, this is going to be my first HDPE. I'll be in the green group and only driving with an instructor. From what I understand, the instructor will drive me around for a few laps in the first session and after that, I'll be driving with the instructor as my passenger for the rest of the sessions. I'm not envisioning that I'll be driving to the point where my tires will be slipping, so should I expect they will wear that much?
It's impossible to say if your tires will wear much. There's just too many factors that affect that, such as - how fast will you be going in the turns, how hard you'll be braking, how smooth of a driver you are, alignment set-up, temperature, the abrasiveness of the track surface, and on and on.

It sounds like you are what I would call a novice, so you probably won't be that hard on your tires. Just enjoy yourself and don't worry about the tires. If you do ruin your tires, well, you drive a Porsche, so you must be able to afford lots of expensive things!
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:49 PM   #7
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You'll love your DE day! Your instructor will probably drive your car for 2 laps to show you the track and the lines. As Husker said, use your 18s. Yes, even though you are running in green, you will be be able to see the wear after 2 track days.
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:13 PM   #8
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You will be fine with either set of tires for your first DE. You won't get much tire wear at all. I don't mean any disrespect in any way but its fairly common for first time track drivers to barely get their tires up to temp, much less wear off enough rubber to worry about it.

Don't worry about performance at all; concentrate on being safe, predictable, and enjoying the experience!

You will have the second most fun than you've ever had in a car. Guaranteed.
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:27 PM   #9
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^^^^^ What Tom said

If you continue to do track events, use the 17's for the track and the 18's for DD. Tires are less $$ in 17"

Also look at getting some good street/track tires like Re-71's. PS2's are decent street tires, but there are much better choices for the track
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Old 06-15-2016, 03:29 PM   #10
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And Mosport is fairly easy on tires. I might be there in my 951. Have fun!
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:36 PM   #11
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Thanks all! I'll put on the 18s. I'm thinking I might do 2 events a year so I may stay in the instructed groups forever. My goal is to learn, not f*** up and have fun. Last year I picked up the BK roll bar extension and I just bought a new helmet. Next week I'm getting my car checked and serviced ahead of the tech inspection. The brake fluid needs flushing and bleeding, and the brakes have to be inspected. The tech inspection requires brake pads to be at least 50%, and I don't know if there is that much material left. I'm also going to get the front center motor mount and side pieces replaced with the 987 parts. I'm curious to see what condition the original motor mount is in.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:12 AM   #12
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The brake fluid needs flushing and bleeding, and the brakes have to be inspected. The tech inspection requires brake pads to be at least 50%, and I don't know if there is that much material left. I'm also going to get the front center motor mount and side pieces replaced with the 987 parts. I'm curious to see what condition the original motor mount is in.
Tires, brake pads, and brake fluid are all items that should be ready to go before a DE. Other things may pop up at the track and you deal with it. Tracks vary on how hard they are on tires or brakes.

I've lost count of how many times I've seen someone show up with worn out tires, worn out brake pads, or brake rotors with cracks in them. The safety crews will "generally" turn a blind eye to these issues, but the driver quickly ends up side-lined and can lose track time trying to fix an item that should have been addressed before arriving. There was a guy at COTA this yr who wore out his tires and brake pads by the end of day 2 (3 day DE). He missed the first session of day 3 while he and his hot gf got the race team next to us in the garage to put his pads and new tires on.

Be sure your fluid is flushed and ready to go. And do multiple hard stops before DE day to test for air. My brother drove 1700 mi to CA, drove all week during Parade activities, then got into his 2nd lap at Laguna Seca and his peddle went soft in T11. Luckily he was able to dive under 2 cars instead of hitting them. He got black flagged for passing in a corner, but he was pitting anyway. His instructor was a pale shade of white. We spent the next 40 min bleeding his brakes. Luckily he didn't miss any track time. Can't imagine the trepidation going into T11 that next time.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:42 AM   #13
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Thanks all! I'll put on the 18s. I'm thinking I might do 2 events a year so I may stay in the instructed groups forever. My goal is to learn, not f*** up and have fun. Last year I picked up the BK roll bar extension and I just bought a new helmet. Next week I'm getting my car checked and serviced ahead of the tech inspection. The brake fluid needs flushing and bleeding, and the brakes have to be inspected. The tech inspection requires brake pads to be at least 50%, and I don't know if there is that much material left. I'm also going to get the front center motor mount and side pieces replaced with the 987 parts. I'm curious to see what condition the original motor mount is in.
Haaa, thats funny. They don't call Auto-X & HPDE the slippery slope for nothing.

Better start saving up for tires that have a wear/traction rating of around 200 like the Bridgestone RE-71's, and Hankook RS-3's and get the wider fronts 225 to help reduce understeer.

Enjoy, and take some pics, we would love to hear how things went and when you've scheduled your next event
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:48 PM   #14
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Haaa, thats funny. They don't call Auto-X & HPDE the slippery slope for nothing.

Better start saving up for tires that have a wear/traction rating of around 200 like the Bridgestone RE-71's, and Hankook RS-3's and get the wider fronts 225 to help reduce understeer.

Enjoy, and take some pics, we would love to hear how things went and when you've scheduled your next event

Well for this year, I'm hoping my second event will be VIR at the end of October. I'm going to try and avoid slipping down the slippery slope!
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Old 06-17-2016, 05:14 AM   #15
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I'm going to try and avoid slipping down the slippery slope!
That's what we all say in the beginning. Then you get a taste and you want MORE.

Once you do a few DEs, the next step is wanting to mod your car. Some guys then dive into all kinds of expensive changes. The best thing you can do is participate in several events without modding your car. The biggest improvements in time will be you getting better vs any mod you could do to your car. So resist that urge for a while.

But once you do 1 DE, there's no going back.

PS. If you don't already have one, get a GoPro and mount it inside the car so you can see yourself and the road. This will be the greatest teaching device you'll have (besides your instructor, but he will be gone after the 1st event). The GP doesn't have to be the latest / greatest. I bought a GP Hero2 off ebay for 1/2 price of a new one. It works fine for me.
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:29 AM   #16
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PS. If you don't already have one, get a GoPro and mount it inside the car so you can see yourself and the road. This will be the greatest teaching device you'll have (besides your instructor, but he will be gone after the 1st event). The GP doesn't have to be the latest / greatest. I bought a GP Hero2 off ebay for 1/2 price of a new one. It works fine for me.
Our club has groups classified as Green, Yellow, Blue, White, Black and Red for Instructors. Green and Yellow are beginners, Blue and White are Intermediate and Black is advanced. Everyone in Green, Yellow and Blue drives with an instructor. The White and Black groups drive without instructors. Our club had a winter seminar for HDPE and as I understand it, I think I'm going to have an instructor for a while. I don't have any racing experience and I'm not going to be promoted up very quickly.

I agree on the go-pro. The fellow selling the BK rollbar extension also had a video camera mount and a fire extinguisher bracket, I probably should have bought those too. When I did the Exotics Racing event they had in-car cameras that videoed the car going down the track and the driver, as well as GPS plotting of the car on the track and telemetry showing tachometer and speed. They gave us all a memory stick with our videos which show everything simultaneously.
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:58 AM   #17
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A lower cost alternative to the GoPro is one of the clones on eBay. They sell for around $40-$70 including a bunch of accessories.

You can also get pretty good videos with data overlay using your phone and one of the apps like TrackAddict or Harry's Lap timer. Get a OBD II adaptor as well. If you have an iPhone, there are only a few bluetooth ones that will work and the run around $100. Te el-cheapo wifi ones will work, but bluetooth is better

If you want to use a windshield suction cup mount, the RAM mount is by fare one of the best. They cost a few more $, but well worth it.

It is a very slippery slope and once one it, there is no hope.....
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:48 PM   #18
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Sound on a video is also a wealth of information. Listen to when you start to accelerate out of a corner (probably way too late when a beginner) and listen to your tires. If they're howling at you, they're not happy. So resist the urge to lay down a fancy track of your favorite music before you listen to the sounds on your vid.

There will be a lot going on during your DE and a lot to absorb. Having it on video is a great way to learn when the bullets aren't live.

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