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.

Classic Ford - - CONTENTS -

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.

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