Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Track tires - slippery when cold - really

I read my share of automotive articles, mostly on line but at any given time I will probably have a Grassroots MotorSport sitting around the house or just finished a F1 magazine. One thing that struck me was articles about tires, specifically track tires. Most authors mentioned the tires needed to be warm before functioning well. Some went on to say the tires provide less grip than a good pair of road tires when cold. Honestly, this did not make a bunch of sense to me. If the tires are softer shouldn’t they grip better than regular tires when both are cold? I still don’t understand it but I now have firsthand knowledge that track tires, anyway the Advans now wrapped around my Porsche’s rims, provide about as much grip as an oiled pig tossed down a slip and slid. In other words not much.

I was driving to work last week. It was not a cold morning maybe 55 degrees. About ¼ mile from my house is a nice tight 15 mph turn. I went through it a bit faster than 15 mph, but not much, and executed a very smooth, totally unprompted four wheel slide. That woke me up. Mental note to self, warm tires up before even attempting to turn. When warm the tires are fantastic. Turning a car I described as a bathtub set atop a half filled waterbed mattress into something that still has too much body roll but sticks to the road like there is no tomorrow.

It still seems as if I am in some sort of Ferrari vacuum. I think I will pick a week and only drive the Ferrari – use it as a daily driver. On another note I am going to have the few paint chips repaired and polish out a small chip in the windshield. Should make the car perfect for the next owner.

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