Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
9/6/18 7:32 a.m.


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Story and Photos by Andy Hollis

What’s the best all-around tire for my high-performance vehicle? It’s a question that gets asked over and over on social media, in the lunchroom at work, and at just about any motorsports gathering. Since tires are the single most important factor in delivering performance on a car, getting them right is key to maximizing your enjoyment of your vehicle.

Tire manufacturers respond to the challenge by offering a wide array of choices targeting a host of uses. The more specific the use, the more focused a tire can be for that application: spirited daily driving, canyon carving, track days, autocross, wet or dry, cool or warm.

Tire buyers tend to live in the real world, though, which means they don’t necessarily have lifestyles that lend themselves to a different set of tires for every different situation. That leaves us with one burning question: Can one tire do it all?

We here at GRM tend to focus on the extreme-performance summer category, as those tires deliver the best dry performance–perfect for motorsports activities–while still being streetable enough for safe passage to and from events.

But that laser focus on dry grip comes at the cost of streetability: These tires are loud, harsh, and can be a total handful to drive through wet puddles. Further, if ambient temperatures are below 50 degrees and it’s raining, these extreme compounds fail to activate–leaving you with no grip at all.

As we saw in last issue’s comparison between the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and the new Continental ExtremeContact Sport, trading off some of the dry-weather performance found in the extreme category rubber can get you a much more well-rounded tire. These maximum-performance summer compounds put a larger emphasis on performance in all nonfreezing conditions.

That’s why so many of the world’s best sports cars come fitted from the factory with these tires. They are suitable for daily use as well as occasional motorsports activities. These are legit street tires, too, not rules-beating, 200-treadwear offerings that could get a carmaker in hot water when unsuspecting customers drive off the road in a rainstorm.

Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport has long been this category’s de facto leader for performance, especially in the dry, but at a higher price point, while Continental’s ExtremeContact DW has provided more value for some applications, especially when wet performance was key. Each of these manufacturers has recently introduced new offerings to address some of their deficiencies relative to the competition.

Continental has worked hard with their new ExtremeContact Sport to improve dry grip while at the same time retaining category-leading wet performance, especially under braking. Michelin focused on the opposite need in creating their new Pilot Sport 4S, calling on their compound chemists to bring them up to speed on slick roads while giving up nothing in the dry.

Did each company succeed? Time to find out.

Read the rest of the story

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
9/6/18 10:34 a.m.

Props to Michelin for improving the wet weather performance as much as they did.  I ran the Conti Extreme Contact Sports last year and loved them.  

I'd probably still go with the Conti's since I don't need that half second of lap time potential for a street car.  I'd prefer their stability if caught in a real downpour, plus they're a great value.  That said, it would seem for those who are willing to pay and want that last tenth, the Michelin's have grabbed the crown.    

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/6/18 11:14 a.m.

For those who don't know, this was a really useful test. Some of the cylinders in Andy's CRX decided at the last moment that they did not want to complete at Nats, so he brought the Macca. And then the skies opened. Andy won because he had exactly the information he needed laugh

Of course, just like pre-running the published course, this sort of testing is cheating and an unfair advantage wink

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
9/6/18 12:39 p.m.

Ahhh... I misread this as a new compound that was just released.  I see now this is actually a rehash of a June 2017 article.  indecision

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/6/18 6:52 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

For those who don't know, this was a really useful test. Some of the cylinders in Andy's CRX decided at the last moment that they did not want to complete at Nats, so he brought the Macca. And then the skies opened. Andy won because he had exactly the information he needed laugh

Of course, just like pre-running the published course, this sort of testing is cheating and an unfair advantage wink

Bwahahahahahahaaaa!!! laugh

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
9/6/18 7:08 p.m.

He was running the new white car at Nationals not this old lame orange one. cheeky 

We talked a LOT about which tire to use on One Lap this year, and for those of us who are mortals, it's hard to ignore the price difference. I'd still like to put the Michelins on the 911 if they can get to more normal car sizes. 

apexanimal
apexanimal New Reader
9/6/18 7:43 p.m.

i'd love to run the michelins if they came in smaller diameters... :/

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/6/18 7:45 p.m.

It was the lame orange one at Nationals.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
9/6/18 7:52 p.m.

As usual, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I thought Ann said they traded in the Orange car, but maybe she said they traded in the GTR and kept the orange car? Anyway, having a McClaren as a backup for your CRX is a life goal. 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
9/6/18 8:09 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Once the kids are through college? 

ztnedman1
ztnedman1 New Reader
9/6/18 9:56 p.m.

To add, he only "won" day 1.  Day 2 was dry and he ultimately finished 7th.

 

Also in general, those that had the Michelins were ahead of those who had continentals.  Driver plays a big factor, but still; big test set, multiple cars, and timed.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
9/6/18 10:12 p.m.

I put the Continentals on my MR2 Spyder and am very happy with them for spirited street driving.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/6/18 10:51 p.m.
ztnedman1 said:

To add, he only "won" day 1.  Day 2 was dry and he ultimately finished 7th.

 

Also in general, those that had the Michelins were ahead of those who had continentals.  Driver plays a big factor, but still; big test set, multiple cars, and timed.

Thanks for the update. He's a friend of mine on Facebook, and everyone talked a lot more about that first day than what happened on day 2.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
9/9/18 8:09 a.m.

Even more info in this vid we shot at Solo Nats...with some comparisons to wet use of RE71R and Rival-S:

https://www.facebook.com/grassrootsmotorsports/videos/241652316537086/

And yes, it was totally dry for Day 2 so I slipped to 7th.  The PS4S is no match for the 200tw stuff in the dry.  But...I had fun.

Seth...we traded the GTR in on the white 570S that we ran in One Lap this year.  That car is not yet classed for SCCA autocross.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
9/9/18 8:12 a.m.
apexanimal said:

i'd love to run the michelins if they came in smaller diameters... :/

They came out with a second wave of sizes for PS4S early in 2018...lots of 17's and 18's now.  Though nothing as small as the 15 & 16's that Conti is doing with the ECS.

El_Tortuga
El_Tortuga New Reader
9/9/18 9:37 a.m.

Good review and perfect timing for me. Had some white knuckle moments nursing my girl home from track yesterday in heavy rain and towing my tire trailer with my Mustang. Had been on MPSS for the last 2.5 years and they were great for daily and for track rain duty when newer, but in their highly worn and aged condition they just aren't the same thing anymore. 

I'll be giving the Conti's a shot. Sounds perfect for my needs and budget.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider SuperDork
9/9/18 4:28 p.m.

I just put the ECS's on Betty and they have been a good match. I really like them as a daily tire for her. I'll probably do a set for the GSW here in a season or 2 since I'll have a set of winter tires for her. Great tire for a fun DD and really does well in the hills.  

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