LainfordExpress Reader
9/14/11 11:02 a.m.

I went to my first autocross last Sunday, and while I had a great time, the stock 195/55R16 Continental all-season run-flats on my R56 Cooper S pretty much howled in piteous protest for all six runs. Another guy in G Stock had a brand new 2011 Subaru WRX, but previously autocrossed an R53 Cooper S about five years ago. He recently sold the R53, but still has his autocross tires and wheels sitting around.

They're SSR Comp knockoffs (I think Speedy Wheels? I dunno, that sounds familiar), 16x6.5", I don't know the weight or offset, but he claims they meet the SCCA stock class rules (plus I can just check the offset when I look at them to make sure). They have five-year old Hoosier A6 205/45/R16 that he claims have about half their tread left. He's asking $300 for the set.

While I know that Hoosiers do not improve with age, but I dunno, they'd at least give me an idea of the step up from street tires to race tires, right? Does the price sound about right? Any experience with used, aged tires?

dculberson HalfDork
9/14/11 11:09 a.m.

The price doesn't sound too bad to me. At the very least you would then have another set of wheels to put new tires on, and $300 wouldn't be a horrific price for bare wheels. (high, for used, but not horrible.)

No advice on the age, though with modern tires I haven't had a problem with 5 years. 10 years is iffy.

Woody SuperDork
9/14/11 11:23 a.m.

$300 for just about any set of alloy wheels is a bargain. The only exception would be if they have corded tires, at which point, you need to pay to have them removed and disposed of.

The tires may not be the greatest, but try them out and maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Klayfish HalfDork
9/14/11 11:30 a.m.

The price sounds pretty good.

FWIW, was this your first event of any kind with "performance driving", i.e. autox or open track? If so, if you wanted to buy the wheels/tires, go for it. But put them in storage until next year. Get some experience under your belt on stock tires. They're going to howl and screech in protest, but they're going to teach you proper driving skills. Then when you're ready to move up, you'll get the most out of race tires. Jumping right to race tires will hide some bad driving habits. They also may not give as much "feedback" on when they're going to let go, etc...

LainfordExpress Reader
9/14/11 11:32 a.m.

Yeah, I was planning on finishing the half-season (three more events) on my stock tires. However, the Continentals are decent tires, and I don't want to destroy them needlessly if I'm going to end up with autocross tires anyway. I kinda wish the Hoosiers weren't mounted, but then, maybe he'd try to sell them separately for more money.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
9/14/11 1:03 p.m.

Buy 'em. That's a good price - bear in mind the tires alone are about $200 each, new.

Then get a good set of ST tires (205/50-16 Star Specs work pretty well) and have those mounted. Keep the A6's in a climate controlled area for a year or two. After you've run the Star Specs into the ground (likely at least a season), then remount the old A6's. No, they won't be as grippy as new ones, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It'll reduce the learning curve for when you go to new ones.

While you'd definitely be faster on r-comps, they can also hide the over-driving errors novices are prone to do. Learning on ST tires will make you that much faster once you do switch.

Keep in mind, we're not talking about a huge difference in times. At the last auto-x I did (the only one I've done this season), I was only a couple of seconds slower (~40 sec course) on *Specs with a bone stock Cooper convertible vs. the guys who have been running all year in prepped HS Coopers w/ Konis on A6's.

Then again, runflats were invented by satan and should be corded and replaced ASAP with non-RF's.

LainfordExpress Reader
9/14/11 2:41 p.m.

I think I'll ask if he ever "flipped" the tires on the wheels to even out wear. If they haven't, and look like they've got pretty good should wear (which I'd expect with half-used Hoosiers on a G Stock Cooper S with crappy camber adjustments) then that'll give me an excuse to have them dismounted and replaced with Star Specs or Ventus R-S3s to learn on.

Now I guess I just need advice on storing unmounted tires.

iceracer SuperDork
9/14/11 5:47 p.m.

Don't store the tires overhead in the garage. Best place is in the basement if you have one and is dry. Cool & dark. Some even put them in black plastic bags.

mtn SuperDork
9/14/11 5:57 p.m.
iceracer wrote: Don't store the tires overhead in the garage. Best place is in the basement if you have one and is dry. Cool & dark. Some even put them in black plastic bags.

And on carpet or cardboard or suspended in midair. Don't put them on the concrete if you can help it.

codrus New Reader
9/15/11 1:21 a.m.

If it were me, I'd say they're worth the price of the used wheels, minus the cost of having the Hoosiers dismounted and thrown away. 5-year-old A6s are going to be hard as rocks.

If you want to get your feet wet with R comps, I'd say you're better served with a semi-streetable tire like an RA-1. RA-1s are great, you can drive to the event on them (well, in the summer), they never get old and hard, and if you decide to go to a track day you can use them there too. Changing tires at the event is a PITA, even if you can fit four of them in a mini, and IMHO not worth it unless you're going onto some really competitive rubber.

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