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1st wet race-lots of questions

Old 09-21-11, 11:42 AM
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1st wet race-lots of questions

Drove my first race in the rain this past Sunday. I have a 1st gen RX. A pair of 205/60/13 dot fully grooved tires came with the car. Owner said tires were never used but sat in a hot attic for 5+ years. I've used them for trailer tires. Seemed ok, but drove slippery as glass.

Question 1. How will a 205/60/13 RA1 full tread work for a rain tire. Other option is a 225/45/13 R888 with full tread.

Question 2. Car does not have a tri-link and panhard. Going to do that this winter. I understand how this should improve the rear handling. What can I expect regarding wet handling?

Question 3. I use Hankook RDOT's with C51 compound. Have used Hoosier R6's and I like the Hankooks. How wet can the track get where they will still work?

Questions 4. I've read that Dirt Stickers are very good wet tires but track has to be quite wet. True?

Last edited by jswisc; 09-21-11 at 11:45 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-21-11, 12:51 PM
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1. The RA1 works pretty well as a light rain tire. If it dries out they won't disintegrate but won't be fast either. Never tried the R888, so I can't give a direct comparison. Any rain tire will work best when a good tread design is paired with a very soft compound. Any tire that has sat for 5 years, whether used or not, will suffer in performance.

3. Depends on your abilities and car setup. If the track is "shiny" wet then you'll want something with a tread. If it has stopped raining and there is any hint of a drying line slicks will be faster. In between that is largely determined by driver ability and how the car is setup. FWIW, the R6 is a much faster tire than the Hankook.

4. Don't believe the Dirt Stockers are available anymore. Hoosier now has a DOT full rain tire. Again, the key with the Dirt Stocker was that it was a very soft compound. The tread wasn't particularly made to pump water (it's was a dirt tire), but the tire was very soft. Run it on a drying track though, and it will last a matter of laps.

My summary of rain racing was that, for regionals, it never paid to invest in a full rain tire like the Hoosier DOT rain. Having a set of full tread RA1s that could handle a fair amount of water decently, while not having to worry about burning them down if it dried out, made the most sense to me. When the crap does hit the fan and it starts pouring all factors just get multiplied. A good driver on less than ideal tires will run circles around an unseasoned newb with the latest and greatest.
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Old 09-21-11, 02:03 PM
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What type of racing are you doing?

I've owned a Trilink/panhard setup for a few years, but never installed it. Frankly, I can't imagine there much room for improvement at this point. I'm very happy with my car as it is. But if I were racing road courses, I'm sure I'd reconsider for the high speed turning stability.

I just got a set of Hankook z213 in C71 compound. I love them entirely. Guys that are running the A6 Hoosiers are coming over to find out what I'm using. I think that in my local area, Hankooks will be very popular. Haven't tried them in moist conditions yet though.

I used to use Sumitomo cheap tires for autocross, and in the rain I could sometimes sneak away with FTD. I really like those tires (no longer available), but now that I've tried the Hankooks I understand what a crap tire those Sumis really were. lol



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Old 09-21-11, 03:04 PM
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1. we think the R888 would be a better rain tire than the Ra1, but we've never had a wet race with the R888's so idk

2. with the panhard/tri link the rear end is much much more stable. kentetsu doesn't know what he's missing...

3. this we do know about, the track can get pretty wet before you need the rain tires, although we're at infineon, which is a slow track, and we have a FWD car. we were on the hankooks.
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Old 09-21-11, 04:07 PM
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I can't comment on the Toyo's but a fresh set might be decent and they are cheap. Anything that has been on the street or has been agressively heat cycled will not work well in the rain even if it has tread left.

My rule of thumb is if the cars on the track are generating rooster tails you need rain tires. If the weather is clearing you can risk going out on intermediates or drys but that can be an expensive decision if you drive off the track and crash.

You also have to consider the where you are qualified. If you are mid pack or at the front of the grid and you gamble on dry tires when the track is wet you will be dead meat when the green flag falls.

I have raced a 1st Gen in wet and getting wetter conditions and in wet and getting dryer conditions.

In both situations having good rain tires (dirt stockers were what I had and they were all that was available then) was the best deal. In the Wet and getting wetter situation the dirt stockers keep me feeling confident and competitive all race long. In the Wet and getting dryer situation the dirt stockers were awesome at the start of the race and let me get to a decent position before the track dried out. As the track got dryer the dirt stockers got a little greasy but I was able to keep them alive by finding an occasional puddle to drive through. The down side is that a drying track usually kills a set of rain tires.

The worst rain experience I had was on a track that was very wet at the start of the race and got worse. I went out on full tread Kumho ECSTA V700's in anticipation of the weather gettting better (full disclosure - it was the only treaded tire I had to run and I was HOPING that the weather would get better). Well the weather didn't get better and I found that the V700's were only worth a crap in a straight line. I really was wanting a set of rains or a RED FLAG at the mid point of the race because it was not fun. This dispite winning my class and finishing with a straight car.

A dedcated set of rain tires is a luxury and if you only do a few races each year so they may be a waste of money. On the other hand they don't wear out if you don't use them and you take care of them. AND....when it rains there is nothing better to be on.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:24 AM
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Thanks for the comments. The car races in ITA. My first year. Local tracks mostly and one trip to Road America that was AWESOME! Clearly my skills need a lot of work in the rain. I did improve my lap times by 6 seconds throughout the race even though my setup was less than ideal. Still need to decide on the rain tire. Think I'll post on the SM forum as they have lots of experience with both Toyo's.

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Old 09-22-11, 11:17 PM
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IMHO, full tread street tires will give you more grip than an RA1 or R888 under full wet conditions (standing water or rivers on the track). In comparison, the "R-comp" Toyo's have relatively shallow tread grooves that don't clear as much water. The only good usage scenarios I've found for the Toyos are enduros and budget racing. In an FC, I've found it difficult to compete against FWD cars in the wet. Not much you can do other than setting your suspension as soft as possible and playing with tire pressures.

For sprint races, I haven't really found a use for "intermediates". The track is either staying wet, getting wetter, or has a dry line developing.

I doubt you'll get much useful info from SM guys. They're either Toyo worshippers or have little to no experience on other tires.

I wouldn't worry too much about your wet race lap times. The track's grip level is changing constantly on a rainy day and varies from one corner to another, depending on drainage, etc. What's important is that your tires / wet setup are keeping your car driveable. If your car is manageable during a rain race, you'll have an edge over most of your competitors.
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Old 09-24-11, 06:28 AM
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One of the factors I wasn't ready to deal with was the brake bias adjuster. Being new to the car/racing in general, til this race I've only been out on dry tracks. Brakes always gripped like mad and never felt a locked-up tires. During the race my fronts would lock up with just about any amount of pressure. Not having any other way to experiment with that "****" sitting next to me, I decided to keep my hand off it and finish the race! I'm looking for an adequate length of pavement I could use and experiment with the brake-bias on wet pavement but have come up empty. Looks like 'll have to wait for the next wet race weekend and try it during practice. Any other suggestions?
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Old 09-24-11, 02:16 PM
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The higher the friction coefficient and initial bite, the more difficult it will be to modulate the brakes on a wet surface. Hence, the brake pad characteristics that help you reduce speed rapidly in the dry are not ideal on a low-grip road surface (i.e. cold & wet). Ideally, a set of "wet race" pads, with a slightly lower friction coefficient, would be part of your wet race setup. (This is probably impractical for most people, since you'd want to swap the brake rotors as well because they're bedded-in for your dry race pads. A lot of paddock-side effort vs. learning to drive/deal with high friction pads in the wet).

As an example, the EBC Yellowstuff pads were almost worthless on my FC in the dry (in terms of poor stopping ability and short life), but were pretty decent in the wet, with longer braking zones, cooler conditions, and very little initial bite characteristic).

I think you have the right idea on adjusting brake bias to compensate for wet conditions. Reduce the front bias just enough to prevent locking under light brake pressure (the meaning of "light" here is driver-specific). You'll want to experiment in non-race conditions to determine how much the bias changes in relation to rotation of the adjustment ****. You don't want to back off too much. The transition between adequate and insufficient front bias can be abrupt, particularly in the wet.

You also have the right idea on your racecraft. Something can happen during the race that compromises performance, your overall lap times, or even just a couple of corners. Use your judgement to determine if you can deal with the situation (e.g. tires going away, engine running slightly hotter, brakes fading in some corners) by adjusting your line, braking zones, driving style, reducing speed, etc. If you can safely manage the problem, continue driving and finish the race!
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Old 10-01-11, 11:16 AM
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I have several sets of rains,some of them mounted. If you are looking to buy used let me know. Think I have some ne Kuhmos too.Also have a tri link and panhard bar setup that I think we have decied to sell. New stuff never mounted. If interested in any of that stuff let me know. We are fall cleaning and need to make some room!
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Old 10-01-11, 07:55 PM
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jr2-pm sent. What do you have in rims?
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