March 22, 2019
Why Tyre Pressure Is Meaningless For Grip
Ok, maybe it is, but it’s not the only factor. The world of tyres is a huge industry. Just in Australia we will spend over 5 Billion dollars on these four little black hand prints that keep us (most of the time) on the road...
When it comes to performance tyres, every car/person/circumstance is different. Front wheel or Rear wheel drive. AWD or 4WD, sunny Sunday mountain trips or driving 100kms everyday to work or school. When choosing a tyre, first thing you need to figure out is what do you want out of the tyre…
Obviously we are not going to bore you with A to B tyres. If you are reading this then the chances are you are all looking for Grip Vs Value. We don’t know your budget or what you do, Instead, let’s speak about how to get the most out of what you have.
First up, tread wear means nothing when it comes to finding the right tyre. Manufactures do not have a calibration tool or any set guidelines to measure the Treadwear, they can put any number they want on the tyre. To see what you are getting, grab a manual “durometer” to test a tyres softness, They can be found on Ebay for $20 and will also tell you when your tyres are on the way downhill. It is a little needle that sticks a few mm into your tyre and measures how easy it is for that needle to rebound. Very simple devise just makes sure you have rotated the face to zero (sounds simple, but everyone does it) before you use it.
People will always run stupid tyre pressures, Too high, Too low. As a general rule, the more pressure you put in your tyre, the better it will roll and you will get a much better fuel consumption. This happens because you have less grip. Once you lower your pressure to gain grip the footprint of your tyre gets longer. This means that your tyre has more rubber touching the road. The compromise if you go too far is that your sidewall is now not as ridged and your cornering, at that stage, will be spongy. If you do not have R type tyres with stiff side walls, you can roll your tyre off the rim or pop a bead. The best way to see if your tyres are performing and you are running the right pressures is to measure your temps...
This is where we get more track spec, and personally I think by far one of the most important measurement on the car. Heat is the best way you can monitor how much you are getting out of your tyre. Find out from the manufacturer what the optimal grip temp is, and also what the max temp pre melt would be. If its a performance tyre, they should have this info on hand. You can then use a laser heat gun from Ebay (again, only $20ish) to measure the temp as soon as you come in to the pits. For each tyre you will need three heat measurements, inner/ mid/ outer temp. If you are standing at the rear of your car and measuring the drivers side then you will start at the right side as Your outer, then move to the mid, then the closest to the middle of the car is the inner. Once you have all three measurements this is called your “Spread”. You want this spread as close as possible. Within 10 degrees is perfect. If the mid is lower than the others, you need to add air to the tyre, if the mid is higher, you need less. If the outer or inner is hotter than the other two, that leads us to…
We all know that race cars have aggressive negative camber. This isn’t just thrown in, it’s another tool to getting the most of your tyres and grip. If the outer of your tyres are much hotter than the inners, you need some negative camber. If the inner is much hotter, you have too much camber wound in. This is a general rule but there are some exceptions to this rule. Again its car dependant on other factors and also has a lot to do with how stiff your car and suspension setup is. If you want advice on these, and you want to see the best, Josh Coote at MCA/Voston is miles ahead of most and super passionate about what he does.
After a few years with a few cheap cars being thrown around the small, club level tracks, I quickly realised the importance of great tyres. What wasn’t great was the price. I knew I had a few years off due to some much needed shoulder surgery, so I thought why not. I started looking into race tyres, compounds, sidewalls, and construction. I then spoke to a Japanese company called Zeknova who where looking to move into slicks. Perfect.
From there it was nearly 2 years of back and forth with testing, samples and improvements. Now I sell Full slick tyres in soft, medium and medium hard compounds that are very competitive with prices up to 50% cheaper than comparable brands. We are also developing a super soft compound that is being moulded right now.
From there my contacts gave me links to providing to a range of carbon fibre helmets, big brake kits, harnesses and we are about to start with motorsports boots and gloves with the aim to get 50% off the RRP of comparable brands.
Written by – Jonno Reynolds
Photos by – Macca Greene