|February AutoX at Zmax
As one of my driving instructors said one day, "Nothing you do with your car on track will make it worth more money." In other words, driving your car wears out stuff like brake pads, rotors, gas, and of course, the tires. Today NMS-North would like to salute a set of Falken Azenis RT660 tires that lasted for approximately 90 autocross runs, a day of driving on track, and about 4767 total miles. They could have gone a bit further, but one of them developed a leak after my last event in 2023, and the tread was getting down to about 5/32nds, so Christmas came early with a new set of tires!
Sure, that's not a lot of miles for your everyday tire that just goes to the grocery store, but if a set of tires is used pretty much only on track and auto-crossing, well, they just wear out faster! This set of tires proved to be pretty darn quick, lasted more than a year in multiple events, and enabled me to win fastest Porsche at two different events last year (once on RAW time and once on PAX time) so I'm happy with that.
I ordered them online from Tire Rack, and like previous orders, have been very happy with their service and their warranty. After ordering on a Monday, they arrived at my local tire shop the very next day. Since Tire Rack and Discount Tire merged, I was also able to schedule installation when I ordered the tires, so that was very easy. There are a LOT of tire stores in world, and you probably have your favorite place you might like to go, so my only advice in buying tires and where to have them installed is to always shop around and get the best deal you can. If you have a local mechanic friend that mounts tires at home like some of my autocross friends, so much the better!
So, out with the Falkens, and in with a set of Yokohama Advan A052s. Just because the Falkens gave me my best results ever you didn't think I'd just buy the same tires, did you? Oh well! This tire has been considered one of the best for autocross for a few years now, to the extent that for much of that time they've been unavailable due to large demand. For that reason, I was surprised to see that they were in stock for immediate delivery, so that's what I ordered.
For competitive drivers, having a great tire makes a huge difference. I looked up some tire tests on the Tire Rack website and found this big test of multiple tires from 2022 that included both the Falkens and Yokohamas, as well as the tires I had before the Falkens, a set of Hankook Ventus R-S4. Besides trying tires yourself, reading articles, watching videos, and talking to other drivers, I guess someone with an unlimited budget could just go out and buy one set of every tire there is and figure out what's best for them, but, well, my budget is just a bit less than "unlimited!" For what it's worth, from that 2022 test of 11 tires, the Falkens finished 2nd, the Yokohamas were 5th, and the Hankooks were in a dead heat for 6th. While that makes the Hankook slower than the others I've tried, it's also known for lasting the longest, and that was my experience also. My set of Hankooks got me through a lot of events, so I felt like they were a good value if you're not trying to be the fastest driver on the planet. The fastest tire in the test was the Bridgestone Potenta RE-71RS, and I'll admit that I went through a few sets of their previous version on my old FIAT too. Here's the article: TIRE RACK TIRE TEST