WCMA Forum

Road Racing => Spec Miata => Topic started by: ChrisS on September 19, 2017, 07:38:59 AM

Title: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 19, 2017, 07:38:59 AM
As you may know; I've been testing the Avon ZZR (soon to be branded Cooper) for suitability as a spec tire for us.  These tires are used by Spec Lotus in the UK and apparently Spec Miata in other regions outside North America.  The results look promising; they've lasted 2 full weekends (including KoR races) and still have rubber left on them.  They also were fairly consistent with my fastest laps being in the second weekend (ie. no sticker advantage).  While they certainly do not have the ultimate grip of the SM7 (my best laps were in the 1:32s) their drive-ability characteristics are excellent.  Smooth break away and hook up make them safe and confidence inspiring. 

What do we get in exchange for going slower?
They last longer; I typically get almost 2 weekends out of a set of SM7s, but others that get them hotter report reduced performance on the second weekend.  They cost less; looking like a 20% savings on a set vs. what we paid for SM7s this year.  Some support/contingency from Cooper; Andy can chime in with more details on this.  With some molded tread, they would also eliminate a separate wet tire.

What are the downsides?
The lower ultimate grip puts us in 2nd gear speed on a few corners (although this might be an upside for the NA drivers).  You would likely want to buy a different set of tires if you were travelling to another region.  Visitors from other regions would be on faster tires (although this might be more fun for them on their first few visits; I would expect them to run in the mix but towards the back of the pack until they learned the track).

What do you need to do?
- Try them.  I'll have a set (hopefully two) at the last race weekend.  Throw them on for a session and see what you think.
- Let us know what you think.  Either reply here, or email myself/Andy.  In my opinion there are 2 reasons to do this; cost savings and prestige of a major manufacturer support.  Are these worth it to you?

Edited to add:
I noticed this wasn't clearly stated; the purpose of this thread is not to decide.  Rule changes (as always) are decided by votes.

This is just so I can share what I've learned from testing, for us to discuss amongst ourselves and understand what matters to our fellow competitors.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: TrentO on September 19, 2017, 08:09:00 AM
What is the cost per tire?
Is there any contingency money?
What about Toyo RA-1's?  I know the NASA guys run those.
I know the drift guys are bringing in the Zestino tires.  Should we look at them?

-Trent
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 19, 2017, 08:29:40 AM
I'll let Andy speak to the exact details, but my understanding is the goal is the $200/tire mark with some contingency money.

For Toyo tires; the RR is popular in the US as they seem more tolerant to higher temperature heat cycles than the SM7s.  I don't think many are using the RA1 anymore as they need to be shaved to be fast in the dry.  Toyo has been looked at in the past, but availability was a challenge (order once in the fall kind of deal) with no cost savings over the Hoosiers.  Toyo has been reducing their motorsport support in Canada (I believe they dropped sponsorship for the Canadian AutoSlalom Championship last year) so personally I'm less inclined to support them.

I think the Zestinos are an interesting option from the session I ran on the set you have.  We wouldn't have the big name or contingency, but it sounds like they cost a bit less and seem to be a bit faster.  Personally I think that lower running costs of all competitors is better for growth than prize money for a few, but everyone has different motivators.  Consistency / longevity would be the data I would want to see.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: RobinS on September 19, 2017, 10:00:23 AM
I am going to run a set of Zestinos at the next event.  Cost is going to be in the $170 per tire range.  I will update after the event.  How did you find them Chris?  The ones I have are a little wider than the ones you tested but still about 5mm less than the SM7's
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: misosoupracer on September 19, 2017, 10:10:04 AM
do you think the cost savings would bring back some drivers?
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 19, 2017, 10:14:58 AM
I am going to run a set of Zestinos at the next event.  Cost is going to be in the $170 per tire range.  I will update after the event.  How did you find them Chris?  The ones I have are a little wider than the ones you tested but still about 5mm less than the SM7's

I would liken them to an old SM7; lower ultimate grip, but they felt pretty familiar when I swapped them on after running Avons.  Breakaway was a bit chattery, but I didn't try totally throwing the car away and gathering it back up on them (aka. not my tires).

do you think the cost savings would bring back some drivers?

I think that's something we still need to figure out; hopefully we'll get some opinions on this thread.  I've heard a few mentions in the paddock that folks would like to spend less on tires, but some empirical data would be nice.  What will help keep you coming out to all the events?

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: dc2696 on September 19, 2017, 10:17:20 AM
No interest in going slower or manipulating rules away from Spec Miata as they are.

The balance of grip/power for all SM's ATM seems fairly close, if we take away some ultimate grip how will it affect the NA's vs NB's differently?

I would prefer to see more back to back testing before making a change this big.

Scrap the above if tire contingency becomes something to the tune of free tires for winning or >current Mazda contingency awards.

-Dean

Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: majormojo on September 19, 2017, 10:32:13 AM
I think I'd like to see a tire that falls off less aggressively than the SM7. A more progressive loss of grip would be easier to manage. The SM7's seem to hit a point where they are either heat cycled out or otherwise drop off in grip rather suddenly, before the rubber is used up.

Also would like to know more about contingency and cost. Cost savings would be nice, but not critical.
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: majormojo on September 19, 2017, 02:09:42 PM
Another question. The Avon tire looks to have a tread similar to the R888. Is the intent that this would double as a rain tire? IE, no additional rain spec tire? Or TBD?
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 19, 2017, 02:25:27 PM
Another question. The Avon tire looks to have a tread similar to the R888. Is the intent that this would double as a rain tire? IE, no additional rain spec tire? Or TBD?

Yes they could be the wet tire as well (I just added that to the original post).  I ran them on the Sentra in the wet as Gimli; they work fine.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: 4kruzn on September 19, 2017, 03:09:08 PM
Just for interest sake. 

Zestino makes a size labeled as 205/580/15.   It is nearly identical
To the Hoosier 205/50/15.   

Trent will have a set of them at the track for testing.   

Robyn has one size smaller at 200/580/15. 

The size Trent has been testing, the ones Chris ran were sized as a 205/50/15. 

This last size is 15mm plus narrower than The Hoosier.   

All these sizes are currently priced at $158.00.  Plus taxes
$170.00 all in.   

If we were to bulk order I'm sure we can cut the price another 10.00 per tire. 


Or...   if contingency is very important.  Tires can be 185 each plus tax and there will be prizes and rewards for winning.   This would give us 7-10k for prizes in a season. 



Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: TrentO on September 19, 2017, 04:50:38 PM
do you think the cost savings would bring back some drivers?
I think the tire costs aren't keeping the drivers away. 
I think a few got hit by the economy and some others don't like the treatment they get at Castrol.
From an economics standpoint:
To race a four event season currently you have to spend $2000 on tires, $2400 in entry fees, maybe $400 on gas and this is after you have a car, all the safety gear and a license.
If you want to be in the front, the tire budget goes to $4000.
So: Mid- pack $4800.  Front-runner $6800
Best case the new tires last 3 weekends, we'd have to buy 6 at min, which at $200 / tire is $1200, so $800 in savings in a $4000 season racing budget.

The concern I have with the Hoosiers is the performance drop off curve as many have said, the difference from stickers to second weekend tires is pretty huge.
Maybe we could restrict the entire pack to 8 hoosiers / season

-Trent
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 20, 2017, 06:50:02 AM
Or...   if contingency is very important.  Tires can be 185 each plus tax and there will be prizes and rewards for winning.   This would give us 7-10k for prizes in a season.

I think that's what we need to figure out; what do we all care about most.  I added a poll to this thread to help measure as well.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: Doug Campbell on September 20, 2017, 07:27:02 AM
There are lots of cheap tires we could run out there, but sponsorship/prize money is the deal maker to motivate us to move off the Hooziers.
Sounds like the Cooper tires would be available through the season, as racers need them, rather than having to order up a bunch before the season, and hopefully don't run out.
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: DanShute on September 20, 2017, 08:38:23 AM
I think the underlying premise for spec racing is to level the playing field to bring greater focus to driver capability and car setup care/skill. An intended side benefit is to reduce the budget required to be competetive. The unintended, and I expect unavoidable, consequence of having 'spec' rules is that a large budget can buy a small performance edge (think pro-built engines) that can put a really good driver ahead of another equally good driver. 

To the degree that we can choose tires that last longer and degrade less, we will be supporting the premise described above.

I'll be happy with whatever decision we take! :)
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: dc2696 on September 20, 2017, 01:58:59 PM
do you think the cost savings would bring back some drivers?
I think the tire costs aren't keeping the drivers away. 
I think a few got hit by the economy and some others don't like the treatment they get at Castrol.
From an economics standpoint:
To race a four event season currently you have to spend $2000 on tires, $2400 in entry fees, maybe $400 on gas and this is after you have a car, all the safety gear and a license.
If you want to be in the front, the tire budget goes to $4000.
So: Mid- pack $4800.  Front-runner $6800
Best case the new tires last 3 weekends, we'd have to buy 6 at min, which at $200 / tire is $1200, so $800 in savings in a $4000 season racing budget.

The concern I have with the Hoosiers is the performance drop off curve as many have said, the difference from stickers to second weekend tires is pretty huge.
Maybe we could restrict the entire pack to 8 hoosiers / season

-Trent

Double that budget and you're still under what I've spent each season in the past two seasons, racing isn't cheap that's for certain.

The SM7 doesn't drop off that bad at all though. I suppose people have different ideals and treatment of the tires but if you manage them carefully I'm seeing less than 0.5s loss from sticker to cord.


Edit: I'll elaborate a little more here.

My experience thus far has been that flipping tires is 100% necessary to get all the life out of them before you see cords on the outer edge and still have tread to use on the rest of the tire. Now this adds extra cost for sure but if you are wasting a lot of the tire then you're throwing money out already so I think it's worth it, plus there are a few kijiji tire guys that will do 10$/tire swaps.

Now how often or when do you flip? I'm flipping after 4-HC (Quali+3 Races)

So it usually works like this; Stickers for Quali, wheels come off until the 30min race, then are used for the remaining pts races (Not KOTR) that weekend. These tires are then flipped and used for Practice, Warm up, 17min race and KOTR the next weekend. They are then removed and piled with the rest of the take offs in a "best of the rest" pile. These tires are then put on a 3rd set of spare wheels as just in case tires (flat spot/puncture/loaners to help other out).

But what about lap times you slub! I wanna go fast!!?

Well I've found if you follow this flip strategy that the flippers are actually in great shape for all these sessions, running as close as 0.2s behind brand new stickers in similar conditions (<-- that part is key to measuring consistency). In the last race last weekend Chris Semanciw put a clinic on using my "bad" tires (aka the flippers that had all the run time on them ready to come off as per me) and ran 0.15s faster lap and 8/14 laps he was faster than I was on good tires! So needless to say the tires have potential it's just a matter of finding a way to get that last bit out of them.

Now how does one go faster on worse tires?

Good question. Alignment is going to make a difference but I'm guessing its 99% driver, and the only way to get better is using up more sets and pushing them and yourself harder each time. Or ask Chris and maybe he'll tell us all :D








 


Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 20, 2017, 08:43:20 PM
I noticed this wasn't clearly stated; the purpose of this thread is not to decide.  Rule changes (as always) are decided by votes.

This is just so I can share what I've learned from testing, for us to discuss amongst ourselves and understand what matters to our fellow competitors.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: Doug Campbell on September 22, 2017, 08:39:21 AM
All actual decisions on a Spec Tire change will be made at the WCMA AGM on October 14 in Leduc. The purpose of this post is to gather opinions on what is important to our competitors before making that decision. The reason we have been testing Cooper/Avon tires, is that there is sponsorship potential from that company. We value your opinions, and will not be limiting discussions to any one persons view.
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 22, 2017, 08:55:29 AM
All actual decisions on a Spec Tire change will be made at the WCMA AGM on October 14 in Leduc.

Since not everyone can/will attend the AGMs; I would suggest that we (or maybe this is a WCMA exec decision?) consider updating our methods to electronic polling.  MSR has this functionality built in:
https://www.motorsportreg.com/help/kb/SurveysAndElections

I know I can't make the AGM this year, but I will abstain my vote since I did the testing and was provide the tires at no cost to me.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: GTcalgary on September 27, 2017, 05:06:48 PM
I am going to run a set of Zestinos at the next event.  Cost is going to be in the $170 per tire range.  I will update after the event.  How did you find them Chris?  The ones I have are a little wider than the ones you tested but still about 5mm less than the SM7's

I'd like to hear more about those Zestino's actually. Price seems really good and that as a ~slick, the one benefit is that if they perform mostly like the SM7's, then it gives us more flexibility when 1) hosting out of region racers to be on similar footing and 2) that they have a similar performance envelope to the SM7 when practicing so we can be at our best if travelling to their regions with their required Hoosiers or RR's. 
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: GTcalgary on September 27, 2017, 05:40:04 PM
SM racers. It sounds like the WCMA is going to present you with an opportunity at their upcoming AGM and ask for your feedback.  I suggest you attend to hear it. More dialogue is good dialogue and we have very few opportunities in our busy schedules to do that.

The WCMA has always had the ability to govern rule changes for their championship classes of which SM is one.  They, along with myself and all of the Spec Miata Championship racers are going to do what we feel is best for the sport. The positive is that change and adaptation are good. Clearly there are growing pains and differences of opinion as to how to go about those changes.  I have removed some posts to try to re-simplify the discussion here. 

Without being too long winded, I was personally hoping to see more of a slick tire like the SM7 or RR that couldn't be shaved, along with significant sponsor support. Since I won't be at the AGM, if you'd like to talk to me more, you can reach me via the contact link on miatavsmiata.ca.  I won't be sending an email out to Spec Miata Championship racers in advance as once indicated.
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on September 27, 2017, 06:40:08 PM
I'd like to hear more about those Zestino's actually. Price seems really good and that as a ~slick, the one benefit is that if they perform mostly like the SM7's, then it gives us more flexibility when 1) hosting out of region racers to be on similar footing and 2) that they have a similar performance envelope to the SM7 when practicing so we can be at our best if travelling to their regions with their required Hoosiers or RR's.

I agree on the Zestinos; I'm very interested to see how they hold up to a couple weekends of our SM abuse.  Cooper has a two groove slick option as well; their tech guy suggested that they would be faster than the ZZRs that we tested, but would give up some longevity.

Another interesting comment came up at the last race weekend (sorry; I forget who said it) but apparently Fastech can get us the Toyo RRs right around that $200 mark as well.  They are no longer supporting the Canadian National Autoslalom (as I mentioned earlier in this thread) but they still sponsor NASA events so perhaps there is opportunity there.  They may be more resistant to the cycling out that some of our racers see with the SM7s; many of the guys in SoCal prefer them for this reason.

A shameless plug for a couple of other suggestions:
  - An alternative to black flags for leaving the racing surface: http://www.wcma.ca/forum/index.php?topic=1130.0
  - Best-of scoring: http://www.wcma.ca/forum/index.php?topic=1125.0

If you have ideas; please post them.

Chris
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: majormojo on September 27, 2017, 09:47:59 PM
My understanding was that the Avon/Cooper tires could bring along some potential sponsorship/contingency money. I'd like to learn more about that scenario. Otherwise, I feel like there's no strong motivation to move away from the Hoosiers. Yes, a longer tire life would be nice, but I think that absent some significant cost savings or contingency program that would help us build the SM community, it's not a particularly compelling change. Most/many of us will be buying some SM7's anyway and having more than one tire type to manage is probably more hassle than it's worth.
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: MattB on October 08, 2017, 01:59:35 PM
My two bits...

Summary: If there's an 80% chance we can reduce tire costs by 25% then I'm in.

My thoughts:
Having more competitors is more fun and good for the sport. Entry fees and tire costs are ~50% of a SM racer's budget. As has been pointed out, it's not a Poor Man's sport, but reducing costs can only help to increase participation. Just as raising costs would tend to drive people away.

For those that want to travel it would be an inconvenience, but if looking at the local SM 'collective', I think we're better off taking our own region's interests as priority. If there's enough money floating around then we could even, as a group, decide to 'sponsor' visiting racers (first set of tires free!) and also sponsor those who travel (WCMA/NASCC/ARCA/Castrol Raceway Ambassadors). I wish we had more racers visiting from other regions but IMHO it's not enough of a reality to be a major factor. To my knowledge Chump, something with brand recognition that offers a product to very passionate group (endurance racers), has had virtually no success in attracting racers from other regions.

As for new tires being slower than SM7's, who cares... It's all relative. If you're concerned about beating a specific time, keep in mind that SM8/9/10's could very well be slower than SM7's.

I tried the Avon's and liked them. Didn't pick up lots of rubber like my SM7's tend to do. Cheaper if you flat spot one. Risk free vs staying with Hoosiers? Probably not. There are always unknown unknowns. But I'd be up for trying something different.

Cheers,
Matt
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: Doug Campbell on October 10, 2017, 07:38:22 AM
After discussions with Cooper Tires, we will have a proposal to present to all of the racers at the WCMA AGM. This proposal will include some sponsorship, but will not include an "exclusive" Spec tire change for Spec Miata or other classes. Although our testing of the Cooper/Avon ZZR tires this summer went well, there are also other less expensive tires than the Hoosier available, and Cooper is talking about making a faster 2 groove slick available next year, which has not been tested yet. More news at the AGM!
Title: Re: A potential spec tire change?
Post by: ChrisS on October 22, 2017, 07:41:42 AM
Sounds like there may be a new Hoosier coming with many of the characteristics we want in a year or two:

http://mazdaracers.com/topic/6612-tire-testing-2019-update/

Chris