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I have autocross and trackday experience, but not in mid-engine/rear-drive cars. I'm going to get an LSS car because I want to stay in stock class and it looks like a convenient way to do so. It will also allow me to grow into the car's performance without having to "upgrade" it. I don't like modding cars.

I was thinking that it would be nice to "learn" to drive the car with a lower limit, as this would take some speed out of the equation. I'd rather spin at low-ish speed than spin at high-ish speed.

I was thinking of getting some cheap, crappy tires in LSS sizes so that the handling dynamic and balance might stay mostly the same, and then "graduate" to the Yoks when I'm ready for more grip.

Would this work? Obviously the suspension wouldn't be getting loaded as much since the tires would give sooner. Also, the crappiest tires I can find that fit both front and rear are Kumho ECSTA 711's, which aren't nearly as crappy as I was hoping for. I want some all-season hard plastic no-grip pieces of crap.

Something tells me that I'm missing something obvious and that it wouldn't work like I think it would. Dumb idea?
 

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The handling characteristics of these cars is dramatically affected by tire changes. In fact, tire pressure makes a world of difference.

You won't be learning the car with crappy tires, IMHO.

You can provoke a mid-engined car to do lots of bad things pretty easily - go into a corner and jab the brakes - you will spin. Go into a corner and lift the throttle - you will get loose.

THis cars limits are very high and it takes some getting used to. You will be amazed at how fast you adapt to it because the car is telling you everything and you don't have to guess. Start slow and build speed at your pace.
 

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Some people say that you learn good driving habits by practicing with bad tires. To some degree I understand where they're coming from, bad tires normally have more gradual breakaway, and you have to be early and smooth with your inputs because they don't react to quick inputs. But still, it's no fun, and as meat said, it changes the handling of a car completely.

I ran an auto-x course on crappy all season tires last spring, after running on very grippy (street) tires for about a year. It was an interesting experience, but mainly a big pain. No steering response, and the car was pushing like a pig.

I'll certainly run on the stock tires for a while, and won't be upgrading to even stickier R compounds until I'm comfortable with the car. Actually I've never seen clear information about this: Are the A048's R compounds, or just very sticky street tires?
 

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Just to play devil's advocate here for a second, one positive note of running cheaper tires for learning is that they ARE cheaper. It sucks to go out on a brand new set of R-compounds and flat spot them. It could be better to go practice on some cheap donuts for a time or two, particularly if you're new to high performance driving.

That said, I wouldn't do it more than once or twice and only at an autocross. After that, it's just going to slow you down.

Cade
 

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ConeFusion said:
I'll certainly run on the stock tires for a while, and won't be upgrading to even stickier R compounds until I'm comfortable with the car. Actually I've never seen clear information about this: Are the A048's R compounds, or just very sticky street tires?
Arno had said he thought the treadwear rating on the A048s was 50 (same as my Ecsta V700s) so it looks like they are R compounds, or at least would be considered to be so by SCCA.
 

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Use the same tires, but set-up your own "autocross" whenever it rains. The balance of the car won't be upset, but the limits will be much lower. Racing in the rain will teach you smoothness (by showing you how easy it is to spin a mid-engined car) and will provide you with the kinesthetic cues of an impending spin, but it may not teach the "cat-like" reflexes you'll later need in the dry.
 

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Until you adapt to the dynamics of the mid engine configuration, you're going to have lower limits anyway.
You might as well learn to drive it as supplied. That way you'll be more confident in your ability instead of using tech crutches.

With higher limits, you tend, to a degree, to experience more abrupt breakaway characteristics. If you tune your driving style to a more progressive setup, you'll be caught with your knickers down the first time you strap on a gripper tire because you're still missing the messages. (what did you learn?)
m.
 

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The level of grip of the tires can affect the handling balance of the car. Typically, increasing grip decreases power-on oversteer, and decreases corner-entry and steady state understeer.

Therefore I would recommend against using really crappy tires like 60,000-mile all-seasons. However, I would recommend working with a set of high-performance street tires for a while, especially for autocrossing. There will be some differences in the handling balance, but mainly they will teach you to be smooth and early with your inputs and force you to look and think ahead.

Back when I was a "rookie" I ran on street tires for a year. When I finally got race tires, BOOM! I was up at the top of the pack. This winter, I spent a 6-month period competing on street tires again, and had a lot of fun. When I got back onto race tires, I had improved a lot.

I would suggest finding a maximum performance street tire like the Pirelli PZero, Goodyear F1 GS-D3, Bridgestone S-03, Advan Neovas AD-07, or Toyo T1-S, that comes in the LSS sizes. You can learn to autocross the car on them, and they can be your everyday driving tires, too.
 

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What John said. Lowering overall grip results in the handling balance moving towards oversteer.

We occasionally use low grip tires when coaching intermediate drivers (those who finish midpack) in road racing. It helps them get to the edge and over it and learn to "drive through the slide". It can be a great tool at a track with a lot of runoff.

It is not something I would recommend on the street, nor to drivers who are not at that point in their development.

Ara
 

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The best solution is to Autocross in the wet or find a wet skidpan driving school session. I learned a lot and had lots of fun at a rainy autocross, extra benefit was that many people didn't turn up so there was time for extra fun runs.

I think this is a bad idea. Run the regular tires and go slower until you learn to listen to what the car is telling you, then eventually you can anticipate and correct slides and spins before they happen.

You probably won't be going fast enough in a dry autocross to really spin the car. It just has more grip than inertia and I've not done more than a quarter turn in the dry and a half turn in the wet when I've "lost it".
 
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