Trackday Tyre Tips from Service & Sport
Trackday driving is a fast-growing activity for drivers who want to see exactly what their cars are capable of, but often the car will not go where it’s pointed – and nine times out of ten the tyres are the biggest influence.
Jerry Freeman of Service & Sport, official tyre partner of Easytrack, Europe’s biggest trackday event organiser, says that there’s a handful of key rules that can turn a trackday nightmare into a driving dream. A former Pirelli motorsport specialist with thousands of racing support miles under his belt, Freeman says 99 per cent of the problems are invisible to the layman.
“Wheel alignment is a huge influence. Correct geometry can absolutely transform a car. Trackdayers are, by their very definition, leisure drivers. They can’t always be expected to appreciate the subtleties of wheel alignment, and often confuse the effects of misalignment with tyre pressure problems.
“Wheel alignment has to be the starting point, then you move on to tyre pressures. You can mess about with them to your heart’s content, but, fundamentally, hot tyre pressures – measured immediately after you end a track session – should be the same as your regular road pressures measured in your drive after a normal run.
“When you come off the track and into the paddock, check your tyres for signs of an even wear pattern. Too much evidence of tread movement or wear in the centre may mean they’re too hard, too much on the shoulders may mean they’re too soft. If correcting of tyre pressures makes no difference, then you probably have a suspension or steering geometry issue.
“If it’s a wet track day, then don’t be tempted to lower tyre pressures as many do – tyres won’t warm up properly in the wet, so you should actually put tyre pressures up to achieve the same pressure as your regular road pressure.
“Another key factor is that many trackdayers think that their sexy-looking road tyres will do the job on a race track. They won’t. A road tyre designed for trackdays looks good, but will have very soft sidewalls and literally wilt.
“Get a tyre that’s fit for purpose: a race tyre-based road-legal track tyre. There aren’t many, but Silverstone do a belter: the Type R. The sidewalls are massively stiffer, and I guarantee they and their ilk will make a huge difference.
“Finally, consider legality: you’ll inflict a year’s worth of wear on your car in a single trackday. Make sure that at the end of a great day your tyres still have tread when you leave the circuit.”
Service & Sport is able to provide virtually any shape, size or make of tyre for fitting at Easytrack events, providing they are pre-ordered in advance. The S&S team will also take a stock of the most popular trackday tyres from a variety of manufacturers to each Easytrack event.