ON TEST: Track day tyres
We put two different high-performanceToyo tyres to the test to show how they perform under pressure on the circuit.
Two of Toyo’s finest put to the test.
When Toyo Tires sponsored the recent TRAX show at Silverstone, it gave the tyre manufacturer the perfect opportunity to showcase its products under the extreme conditions on track. Toyo was founded in 1945 and have been present in the European market for over 30 years. They produce a vast range of tyres ranging from light commercial vehicle through performance road car up to SUV and 4x4 fitments. The element of their range that most concerns us is that middle sector: comprising, in ascending order of performance: CF2, T1-Sport and R888R products. A neat way to summarise their purposes in life, is to say that while all are focused on high levels of road holding and response capabilities, the CF2 is biased towards comfort and longevity. The T1-Sport is an ultra-high performance road tyre that can be used on the track while the R888R is a full on race tyre that can also be employed on the road.
The ones that most interest classic Ford readers are the two upper members of the performance. To put these to the test we borrowed the 295 bhp Sierra Cosworth belonging to Les Parrott, and shod the rear-drive monster with Toyo’s finest — the road-going T1-Sport, and the track-oriented R888R.
So what do they feel like from the driver’s seat? What better way to determine the advantages and pitfalls offered by alternative tyres than to appraise them in the safe, controlled environment of the 1.64-mile Silverstone National circuit. The 35 co-users of the track ensured that pure racing lines could not be adopted, thus replicating real world driving challenges.
First up, the R888R.
“FOR THIS TRACK TEST WE BORROWED A 295 BHP SIERRA COSWORTH SHOD WITH TOYO’S FINEST”
“IT PROVED EASY TO DRIVE THE CAR UP TO ITS LIMIT, FEELING CONTROLLED AND PLANTED”
The Proxes R888R
To give of their best, the R888R track tyres need to be put through at least one (preferably two) heat cycles. This means driving the tyre moderately hard for a distance of around 10 miles in order for it to achieve its working temperature. The tyre is then left to cool and the process repeated.
This has several functions, noticeably, it buffs off any mould marks and gives a slight rough tread surface, it also burns off oily release agents and cures the tread compounds. This process is easily achieved on track, but possible on the road with a little thought as to suitable route. One accomplished, the tyres performance will be stable and their longevity maximised. Before the tyres lose any temperature after the run, the pressures are corrected to a Toyorecommended hot-running datum of 32 psi all round.
After a couple of familiarisation laps to get the car, tyres and driver up to temperature, it was time to press on and discover the truth. While these tyres need a little warming to ‘switch on’, unlike some rival products the difference between cold and hot is not night and day — instead the improvement is a rather more subtle gradient.
It proved easy to drive the car up to its apparent limits, feeling controlled, with no perceptible moments or slides, just planted. Provocation by way of a little excess throttle opening, results in rear end waywardness that is easy to recognise and correct with subtle steering input and throttle modulation. The initial turn-in feels a little dead, with a perceptible hesitation before the direction change takes full effect, whereupon the tyres positively bite and direct the trajectory towards the desired apex.
Braking is where there is much time to be found on track tyres. The Cossie is fitted with AP Racing brakes but without the advantage of ABS to mask any lack of retardation grip. Impressively, it was difficult to lock a wheel into the multiple braking zones.
A few more laps at a similar pace prove the consistency and sure footedness these tyres instil in the car. The session comes to an end, meaning it’s time to fit the T1-Sports and see how they measure up to the R888R.
Toyo Tires 01933 411144 www.toyo.co.uk Words Ray Ingman Photos Chris Frosin, Ray Ingman, ToyoTires Info Contact
Though designed for track use, the Toyo Proxes R888R is fully road-legal. R888R With enhanced steering feel and response, combined with higher stability on the throttle, the R888R allows track users to carry higher speed through the corners.