Originally Posted by HDClown
Something like Falken Azenis ST-115 or FK-452 or Hacook Ventus Sport K104 or V4 ES H105 ?
A guy I know who is a heavy club racer and a frequent winner says most of the club racers are running lesser expensive/lesser widely known names like these tires as opposed to huge populars like PS2's, KDW's, F1 GS-D3, etc. He says these tires (such as the ones above) are just as good for less money.
Here's some useful info:
-Track tires for racing are chosen based largely upon lap times and lifespan. Racers need tires that last "long enough" while allowing them to go faster.
-Track tires for High Performance Driver's Ed, open track days & amateur autocross are chosen based upon a blend of lap times (performance), lifespan and price. Bang for the buck is VERY important in this category because some weekend warriors go through several sets of tires a year....big bux.
-The popularity of street tires is largely driven by advertizing. This is why everyone drinks Coke and Pepsi and why so many folks believe that Michelins will protect your family.
The leading street performance tire companies are generally not leaders in these areas & this is what your friend is telling you. Michelin & Pirelli are not popular tires on the track while certain Asian and domestic off brands shine.
If you go to a track day, you will indeed see lots of Kumho, Nitto, Sumitomo, Falken, Toyo, Hankook etc. Michelin, Goodyear, Continental, Dunlop & BFG are seldom on the charts with higher prices and only average performance. They generally do not cater to these weekend racers & they often do not even offer tires for such use. The road racer, HPDE and autocross pricing is cut-throat, so leading street tire mfrs can not make a profit competing toe-to-toe with Asian mfrs in the "sticky DOT tire" war.
Street and track tires differ. The top players for track are not the same as top players for street. It IS TRUE that many top track tire companies make good, affordable tires that work well on the street at a significantly lower price. That said, their offerings are generally not better than the top tier street tire mfrs (ignoring price).
I find certain Asian & domestic tire mfrs offer excellent tires at cheap prices.
For example, I just bought a set of General brand performance street tires at the Tire Rack. In W speed rating and 245/45-17 size, I paid a whopping $79 each US funds. These tires are rated 1st in performance against many other tires, yet they cost about 1/2. In a Michelin, I would have paid about 2 to 3x for the same performance.
Here's some actual Tirerack consumer survey data between 2 market leaders and a low-priced entry. The data was collected from tire owners that logged 9.8 million miles on these three particular tires models, so it surely has some validity:
Tire comparison group with 47 entries = Ultra High Performance Summer Tire
#1 of 47 rated tire in all 9 performance categories = General Exclaim UHP
#3 of 47 rated tire in these same categories = BFG KDW2
#35 of 47 rated tire in same categories = Goodyear F1 GS
In size 275/30-19, General = $153, BFG = $241, Goodyear = $305
In size 245/40-18, General = $110, BFG = $159, Goodyear = $216
In size 245/45-17, General = $80, BFG = $146, Goodyear = $209
General Exclaim UHP, rated #1 and this million mile survey comparison IGNORES PRICING!!! These consumer surveys are somewhat useful because the data comes from owners who try various brands and types. Relatively consistent perfomance trends between models emerge.
Are you going to buy the #1 tire for $153 or the #35 tire for $305?
In closing, I must say the $80 General tires I just bought for my Mustang at Tire Rack are excellent.