Poll

What's most important to you in Spec Miata? (pick 2)

Budget - I want to control some spending.
Contingency - I want to the chance to win some money/free tires if I do well.
Regional Consistenct - I want myself and other racers to visit other tracks and do well.
Competition - I don't care what tires we are on as long as the racing is close.
Growth - I support some money from a tire deal going towards growth initiatives.
I'm happy with what we have; please don't change it.

Author Topic: A potential spec tire change?  (Read 2362 times)

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September 19, 2017, 07:38:59 AM
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ChrisS

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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
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 08:44:58 PM by ChrisS »
Spec Miata #13

September 19, 2017, 08:09:00 AM
Reply #1

TrentO

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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

September 19, 2017, 08:29:40 AM
Reply #2

ChrisS

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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
Spec Miata #13

September 19, 2017, 10:00:23 AM
Reply #3

RobinS

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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

September 19, 2017, 10:10:04 AM
Reply #4

misosoupracer

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

September 19, 2017, 10:14:58 AM
Reply #5

ChrisS

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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
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 10:19:02 AM by ChrisS »
Spec Miata #13

September 19, 2017, 10:17:20 AM
Reply #6

dc2696

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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


September 19, 2017, 10:32:13 AM
Reply #7

majormojo

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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.
Insert awesome race car here.

September 19, 2017, 02:09:42 PM
Reply #8

majormojo

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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?
Insert awesome race car here.

September 19, 2017, 02:25:27 PM
Reply #9

ChrisS

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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
Spec Miata #13

September 19, 2017, 03:09:08 PM
Reply #10

4kruzn

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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. 




September 19, 2017, 04:50:38 PM
Reply #11

TrentO

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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

September 20, 2017, 06:50:02 AM
Reply #12

ChrisS

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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
Spec Miata #13

September 20, 2017, 07:27:02 AM
Reply #13

Doug Campbell

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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.
Yellow Z06
Spec Miata 91

September 20, 2017, 08:38:23 AM
Reply #14

DanShute

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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! :)