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After autocrossing in a street tire class for 2 years, I got a chance to drive a car on R-compounds for the first time last weekend. And as it happened, they were A032R's (soft compound version). They might be a little stickier than the A048's we will be getting with the Elise, but should be quite comparable.

This certainly wasn't a scientific test, especially since the car (a Civic set up for DSP) is quite a bit lighter than the car I usually drive. But I was still amazed at how big the difference to even the stickiest street tires (like Azenis) was. There was simply a lot more grip available. While you certainly don't get the same amount of advance warning (squealing) as with street tires, I still felt like they were fairly predictable and easy to control at the limit. The surface was very good quality asphalt (parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City).

All in all, it was a lot of fun! I can't even imagine how much grip similar tires will provide on a 500lb lighter and more balanced car, especially running on concrete. And those Yokohamas are on the lower end of the R-compound spectrum...

On the other hand, IMHO tires like this are overkill for a car that is only driven on the street. I know that I would never get close to using their potential when I'm driving on public roads.

Picture of me, driving a Honda :eek: ;) :

http://www.solo2.org/DesktopDefault...currentitem=291&path=Events/2004/KC 3-21-2004
 

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Here's a short article comparing the Yoko Advan 038 with a few similar tires. Interesting initial impressions...
 

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I predict lots of wrecked Elises for those on the 48's. They don't like wet and they don't like cold. People will also be able to drive way above their limits on these tires and quickly get into trouble.

There are also a bunch of people buying this car that have never driven a mid-engined, rear-drive car. That's trouble enough right there.
 

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Ok, cold I can understand, but have you driven on 048s in the rain? From what I have read they are supposed to be quite good in the wet.
 

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meat said:
I predict lots of wrecked Elises for those on the 48's. They don't like wet and they don't like cold.
Luckily for us in Atlanta, it's rarely either one. :D
 

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I've tracked an Exige for the last two years. I've driven in the rain on 48's.

Damp roads are ok (as long as it isn't cool). Standing water is a major problem.
 

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I have A032Rs on my V8 Datsun, which I drive on the street as well as the track. As long as your ego can handle not being the fastest person on the road in the rain, I don't see the problem. Personally I think there are a lot of very stupid people out there who _way_ outdrive their cars in foul weather. (I always find it amusing how many 4x4 cars you see stuck in the ditch when it snows)

On the track you might want something else in the wet, but I do very few autoxes when its raining.
 

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German magazine comparison

Interesting article posted by Vantage. The AO48's were the "best performing" of the four but, like slicks, gave the least warning before giving way. ...and they also noted the tires are limited on very wet surfaces. I'm looking forward to tracking my LSS Elise. But I will have my hands full, moving up from a street-ported '79 Rx-7 with just "regular" Z-rated Yokos. They send an early-warning "audible" before breaking loose.
 

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Depending on the track conditions and material the 48's will howl when pushed.

It's when they are cold or they are wet that there is little noise.

Cold and wet are the enemy!

My car is very tossable when conditions are right, but when it is cold things become very interesting with the backend!
 

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cold tire lesson

I learned about cold tires the hard way: about a mile from my house, weather just above freezing, I decided to punch it- a little- in the NSX turning at an intersection. The back end just kept on going and SLAMMED into the curb. Luckily there was no suspension or body damage- just some curb rash on the wheels.
Scared me to death but I've learned to respect the cold tires.
 

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meat said:

It's when they are cold or they are wet that there is little noise.

Cold and wet are the enemy!

My car is very tossable when conditions are right, but when it is cold things become very interesting with the backend!

I predict lots of wrecked Elises for those on the 48's. They don't like wet and they don't like cold. People will also be able to drive way above their limits on these tires and quickly get into trouble.

There are also a bunch of people buying this car that have never driven a mid-engined, rear-drive car. That's trouble enough right there.
Everyone should print the above comments out and tape them to the garage door!

I went for a long drive in the Melbourne hills yesterday in my 111R + A048 with friends - an Sti, an Elise S2, and a WRX - all very experienced drivers with track time in their cars. Conditions were cold [6-8 celsius] and damp, but not raining. Another month and there will be snow and ice on those roads ...

After about 40min of cruising at 80kph, we got to the twisty stuff. I was following the STi, with the Elise and WRX behind. I was driving very cautiously, coz my 111R is still running in, and *anyone* with any sense is going to be careful in cold-damp-unfamiliar roads in a new car, and I also have a lot of experience in my previous car on Bridgestone RE540s R tyres in the cold and wet [ie no grip when cold], so I knew I was in risky conditions.

Anyhow, about 20mins into the cold-wet-twisty stuff, coming out of a 90kph right hander, feeding the power in gently, when without warning, the rear stepped out like it was on glass. I considered just jumping on the brakes but I figured I would slide off the tarmac at speed [thats what happens on the track which is fine if you have runoff ] and into the hillside - ouch.

So I kept off the brakes and fishtailed once or twice before regaining control.

The good: The Elise front end felt glued to the road and gave fabulous feedback all through the slide.

The bad: I had taken at least 1 hour to warm up the *tyres and the driver* and I thought I was nowhere near the limit - when the A048s let go, there was no warning or progression.

The WRX, STi, and Elise S2 all had no trouble. My friend in the Elise was keeping up with the WRXs. I dropped back to the tail of the group and pussy footed behind.

Be careful out there folks.
 

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how many miles are on your car? You said you are still breaking it in, the tires often need some time to break in also, that could be why you experienced that.
 

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offroadr35 said:
how many miles are on your car? You said you are still breaking it in, the tires often need some time to break in also, that could be why you experienced that.
Perhaps, but even more regular Z-rated rated tires common on performance cars (S-03, Pilot, GS-D3, etc.) don't work too well in 45 degree weather. It's probably a drive he shouldn't have been on. That combined with the "odd handling characteristics" of the 048 with standard suspension, it's not so surprising.
 

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originally posted by meat
I predict lots of wrecked Elises for those on the 48's. They don't like wet and they don't like cold. People will also be able to drive way above their limits on these tires and quickly get into trouble.

There are also a bunch of people buying this car that have never driven a mid-engined, rear-drive car. That's trouble enough right there.
That's me! Although I do drive a front engine RWD car. Believe me, I'm going to be gentle with my Elise. With the LSS pack I won't drive my Elise when it rains. Well, maybe I'll take it out for a short drive to check it out. I plan on taking driving courses.

Will the car hydroplane without warning?
 

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I'm not sure where in that article they said the Yoks were the best performing?

Anyway, I've driven the A032r's and consider them slower and inferior to Victoracers, V700's, and certainly Hoosiers. But. .

This weekend I watched the Best or British DVD and perused the Clements' and Walton's books on the Elise. Just as a race car is designed, the Elise was designed around the tires that they chose for production, and the three souces chronicle how the S1 was hamstrung b/c no manufacturer could make the running changes in construction and compound the engineers at Lotus wanted to see to optimize performance.

I didn't glean from the books and video how they got Yok on board to make the requested custom tire Lotus demanded, but the text and video implies that Lotus-specific tweaks to the existing baseline were quite substantial. In this regard, Lotus quoted that the S2 is 1.5 seconds faster on the Hethal track with the same power, traced to damper, spring, and tire optimization.

1.5 seconds is an ass whooping.

Given the fine edge to which the Elise was tuned (presumably including the LSS), I'm suspect to think that slappin' a big 'ol set of Hooters on the car will make it faster. But prior experience dictates that more stick = faster laps.

It'll be very interesting to see how migration to stickier/wider tires (as is common in the US among track whores) works out.
 

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offroadr35 said:
how many miles are on your car? You said you are still breaking it in, the tires often need some time to break in also, that could be why you experienced that.
1500kms now ... first service due this Thursday
 

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I'll add my real world experience on 48's here from this past weekend for a good example.

Rain at the track in the morning. Sun comes out and track is damp. It's my first outing of the year with the Exige so I decide to do a few laps to see if everything is running right. I'm not going fast, not even trying. Just driving the car around the track slowly.

The car doesn't even twitch all the way around and then I get to the last turn and I have no idea what happened, but the back end just came right around - no warning at all.

Be careful!
 

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When I was at the Skip Barber racing course yesterday someone asked them why they had street tires rather than racing tires on the cars. They emphasized how the street tires will give you more feedback and warning before you exceed their limits whereas with the racing tires you will have great traction but when you exceed the limit it will come with no warning....Sounds like your experience confirms that....
 
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