SCCA autocrossers know that sticky rubber is vital to competition success, and ever since the invent of SCCA’s Street Touring category, not to mention the popular Street-category rules moving to a maximum allowance of 200-treadwear tires, the race has been on to uncover the ultimate street tire. The problem is, not everyone has the ability to test all of the tire options in a controlled environment. Luckily, there’s Tire Rack.
Tire Rack has been the title sponsor of SCCA’s National Solo program for roughly 20 years, with the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships, SCCA’s winner-take-all autocross mega-event, set to kick off in about a week.
Being closely tied to SCCA and the autocross community, Tire Rack is intimately familiar with the must-have tires in the world of true performance driving, and periodically, Tire Rack pits several of those top autocross tires against each other at their test facility in South Bend, Ind.
This year’s Tire Rack test pit four Extreme Performance Summer tires against each other on the street as well as on Tire Rack’s private test course. The tires were the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S 1.5, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R, the Dunlop Direzza ZIII, and the new kid on the block, the Yokohama ADVAN A052.
The first three tires are solid, proven performers on the autocross course, so there’s been a lot of buzz about the new A052 Yokohama and its super aggressive tread pattern.
Early comments from autocrossers utilizing the new Yokohama is that it requires the use of higher air pressures in order to stop the tire from rolling onto its sidewall, which could be interpreted as the tire having a softer than usual effective spring rate. Tire Rack’s testing seems to correlate with these reports, as the A052 scored better than the competition in the subjective driving evaluation portion of Tire Rack’s test, which ranked each tire’s road manners in dry and wet conditions.
Based on the Yokohama’s limited tread pattern, it’s easy to assume the tire’s performance would quickly degrade in the wet, but Tire Rack’s performance testing showed that not to be the case. It turns out, the A052 can hold its own on Tire Rack’s wet circuit in both cornering and braking, although it should be noted that Tire Rack’s wet tests involve very few standing puddles. Still, it’s an impressive performance from a tire with limited tread.
But while Yokohama’s latest offering appears to perform well in all conditions, it’s not head-and-shoulders above the competition. Case in point, the Dunlop Direzza ZIII outperformed the Yokohama in average cornering g-forces. In addition, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R outperformed the A052 in various other tests, with the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S 1.5 giving both a run for their money.
Tire Rack’s complete tire test, which includes plenty of info-graphics and videos, can be found here.