Race season is in full swing across the US. Ever wondered what tires are used by racers? Let’s take a look at a few of the different tires used in different types of racing.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series is undoubtedly the most popular racing series in the United States. The Stock Cars wear Goodyear Eagle racing slicks. At 11.5 inches wide, and fitting a 16 inch wheel, these tires are designed to heat up quickly, and provide grip through 190 mph superspeedway corners. A NASCAR infographic lists the price per tire at $389, but they are worn out after 150 miles. The closest comparable tire is the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar. They may cost a little more, but are DOT legal, and you will get 100 times the life out of them.
NHRA Top Fuel
Top Fuel is the most lunatic version of racing out there, and the stats prove it. An estimated ten thousand horsepower launches these cars quicker than a fighter taking off from an aircraft carrier. It takes a serious tire to keep these dragsters in control. The NHRA uses Goodyear, Hoosier, or Mickey Thompson drag slicks at just 7 psi. They are 17.5 inches wide, stand a full 3 feet tall, and are mounted on a 16 inch wheel. A tire that size is not light, and these slicks prove it at 50 pounds. At more than $500 each, they get very expensive very quickly, as they are worn out after just one mile (4 passes). The street version is a better deal, as Mickey Thompson ET Streets start at under $200, and provide high grip while lasting thousands of street miles.
Monster trucks offer a different take on racing, and the tires are particularly unique. BKT is the official sponsor and supplier of Monster Jam truck tires. Tires are 66 inches tall, 43 inches wide, and are mounted on a 25 inch wheel. This size comes with a weight penalty, and monster trucks need to be powerful to turn these 900 pound tires. Prices start at a few hundred dollars for a well-used tire, but expect to pay thousands if you are buying new. Keep in mind these are farm/off-road rated, so while they last years in the mud, they have a very limited life on the street. Instead, consider an on/off-road DOT-legal variant, like the BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A. It is way cheaper, around $200, and provides high traction on or off-road.
The Sports Car Club of America is open to more than just sports cars, and does a whole lot more than meet at the local burger joint and hang out wearing members only jackets. The SCCA runs 1000+ local events throughout the USA, and unlike the other officially sanctioned racing leagues above, novice drivers can bring their street car for a fun blast around a course. Newbies typically run in the factory stock class, using original equipment tires that came with the vehicle. This means tires could be as mundane as $70 Nankang commuter tires on your Toyota Yaris, or some serious $600 Perelli P-Zero 20 inchers for the back of your Corvette ZR1. Keep in mind, you can run better tires in a different size than stock, but you will be bumped up to the more competitive street prepared class. Still, it’s pretty neat to see the national champion running tires than can be used on your everyday ride.