Here's One We Did Elsewhere
October 22nd, 2013 11:26 AM Share
As winter approaches, the TireRack and the other big rubber-retailers will start beating the drum for snow tires. You know that snow tires work in the snow. But I’m sure that none, I mean, many of you have wondered how they work on a racetrack.
Road&Track was kind enough to let me do something that no sane individual would do: spend an afternoon driving the notoriously tire-hungry Focus ST around Putnam Park on snow tires. Over the course of the entire day, I was able to render a few thousand dollars’ worth of Goodyears and Dunlops unfit for resale. I also discovered what the on-track gap is between the best summer-focused tires and their cold-weather counterparts. Check it out here.
Since this is TTAC, however, and we don’t necessarily believe in fluffing the mags even if I’m the one who wrote the story, I’ll tell you the conclusion: there was just 2.2 seconds a lap difference between them. But I know you want to see the pictures of the trashed-looking tires in the slideshow, and see where Vodka McBigbra peeled the “N” off the “DNR” on my helmet, so off you go!
Published October 22nd, 2013 11:26 AM
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4 of 46 comments
Two jeeps, one old, one newer, both with BFG's All-Terrain's. The liberty made it through a foot a untouched snow on the old crappy street tires. Then I got the 83 CJ'7 out during that storm and drove through unplowed roads like nothing. 32X11.50 tires; the capability that thing had in over a foot of virgin snow was amazing. Cars, vans, suv's, trucks; stranded everywhere while my old Jeep just kept effortlessly driving past them all. When the Liberty needed new tires, I put the same on it. Stock size, and I haven't gotten to really test them yet, but nothing beats a true 4x4 with good tires on it. And on that note, the other weekend we went to a apple orchard and watched a giant 4x4 Powerstroke Ford F-250 get stuck in a slightly muddy parking lot. All four skinny street tires caked and spinning in some wet grass; Tires make the difference.
Soft compounds good. Large tread voids bad. I used to run my Pirelli Winter 190s pretty hard on a good road in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They handled okay, but stank of molten rubber when I got where I was going.
Had a big hiatus living in the sunbelt then returned to snow country. Huge improvement in snow tires over the past twenty years. Drove home from work in wet, cold conditions with my Blizzaks on a 4 X 2 pickup. All the weenies in the cars were driving ultra-conservatively for some reason. I couldn't understand why, until I stepped out of the vehicle. The "wet" conditions were actually ice. Not only did the Blizzaks handle the conditions, I didn't even notice. I can run rings around a 4x4 with all season tire in most conditions. The Blizzaks give a very comfortable ride, too. Or, I could have paid $4600 extra for a 4X4.
RWD + winter tires FTW! I have driven my 2006 325i for 6 winters in MA on 205/55/16 Dunlop Wintersport 3D. Turn off traction control in the snow to allow some slip while starting from a standstill, otherwise you're not going anywhere. Never an issue, even climbing steep snow covered hills. Just be smart and put in a little extra effort (Which 99% of drivers todat DO NOT want to do!). Easter through Thanksgiving the summer tires go back on. Added benefit of the lightweight winter tire and wheel package is increased fuel economy and more tossable than with the heavy 225/255 17" sport package wheel and tire combo.