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Discussion Starter #1
Looking at my next set of tires for the street. The 2005 Elise I purchased recently came with older AD07s that def need to be replaced. I live in Portland, Oregon. While I won't drive the Elise by choice in truly wet conditions, I've often driven in damp ones. Peace of mind and safety in damp/mixed conditions on the street is the main criteria for this replacement set.

I'm a novice level driver, looking to take HPDE classes when things dry out this spring. The vast majority of the time for these tire will be street conditions.

At this point, I'm only considering stock sizes: 195/50/16F and 225/45/17R mounted to my stock wheels.

The Conti ExtremeContact DW seems a good choice, but it appears that it is no longer available in my size. However, the Sport (perhaps seen as the replacement for the DW?) comes in my size:

ExtremeContact sport, front
ExtremeContact sport, rear


My reading seems to suggest this the right blend of wet performance while still doing well in the dry, but are there better options I should consider?
 

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I've recently purchased an Exige with older / worn tires, so I'm in a similar situation. My car is in Cleveland, OH, but I spend much of my time traveling for work - I'll be driving the Exige when I'm home rain or shine. While I'm new to Lotus, I've done some tarmac rally and road racing in similarly light-weight Miata's. For the rallies, I started with Toyo R1Rs (200 treadwear) before moving to Toyo R888s (100 treadware), and used them in everything from warm / dry to cold / wet conditions with good success. I think the 340 treadwear Contis would be better suited for a much heavier car.

Cheers,
Bryan
 

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I have the Conti Extreme Contact Sport on my 06 Elise in Sport Package sizes. The car came with Yokohama A048s with about 1,000 miles on them.
The rear Yokohama A048s wore out after another 3,000 miles. Or rather I put them to good use.
The A048s certainly have more grip in the dry. And they pickup ever pebble within a 3 foot radius of the tire. The Contis only pick up half as many pebbles.
I ran the spring Lotus Limited Car Control Clinic at Lime Rock on the A048 and managed second fastest time. I ran the fall CCC at Lime Rock on the Contis and had the fourth fastest time. Each time I was the fastest NA Elige there and beat out a few supercharged cars.
I also ran the Continental at a HPDE day at Watkins Glen and they held up just fine with only the slightest audible protest as I got faster by the end of the day.
As for wet traction I did get caught in a decent down pour on the Contis, they performed admirably. I only saw light to medium ran with the A048s with no issues there either.
So in summary for all out performance look at a tire like the A048 or new A052. I know allot of people run the Toyo R888 and R888R. For a little less performance, a fair amount more wear, and more wet weather traction the Conti is hard to beat.
 

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I run the Contis DWS with LSS rims on the street and a 15/16 R888R on the track and both are well suited for their purposes. No problem with either at 258whp and double adjustable ohlins. Previous owner ran this setup for years and I'm following his lead.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
good stuff.

One thing that I've been thinking is that for my ability level, that I might be better suited to the less sticky compounds. My understanding is that while the R888(R) is fine on our light cars on the street, they have a tendency to break away less gradually. I would likely be better off with the less sticky compound even on the track as even though they will start to give way sooner, the feedback about the loss of grip comes sooner, where I'm more likely to be able to pick up on it in time to take corrective action.

Would this likely be true for the ExtremeContacts?
 

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These cars have so much grip no matter what tire I think you would be fine with either.
At Watkins Glen I wasn't even close to the limit ever. I could tell by how much my instructor was relaxed. He knew the car was way more capable than I am even on these tires. A more experienced driver would likely find there limits to be very low compared to a proper track tire like the R888R.
At the Lime Rock CCC on either tire I was able to break it loose a little bit because we were on their autocross course that is pretty tight and both events happened during cool weather (Early May and Late October) so less grip.
Both tires felt similar to me at the limit. The A048 didn't let loose abruptly. For reference it has a treadwear rating of 60 vs the 340 of the Continental. The new A052 is a 200 tire. If you can swing the cost these might be the sweet spot. As much as I like the Continentals I think I'm going to give these a try next time to gain a bit of grip back. They also look to be more rain friendly than the older A048.
On a side not the Continentals also work on grass.....sort off. During my first timed lap the tires we still very cold and I overcooked a tight right hander and went straight of into the grass. Instead of waiting to slow down I gave her some throttle kicked the rear end around and darted back on the track. After my timed laps were done one of the instructors positioned at the far side of the track flagged me down on my cool down lap. I thought I was going to get grief for what I'd done to get back on track. Instead he was laughing saying I definitely get the award for the most Lightning McQueen lap he'd ever seen. He said it looked awesome as the car was sideways full countersteer with grass and dirt rooster tails behind the car.
Sometimes you gotta turn left to go right.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
He said it looked awesome as the car was sideways full countersteer with grass and dirt rooster tails behind the car.
I'm sure that did look impressive!

Looking at A052's, I'm seeing 195/50R16 $200 and 225/45R17 at $195 which is about 40% more than the ExtremeContact Sports... which doesn't factor in the wear rate.

If they were the same price, I'd be more on the fence, but the cost of the A052s for street use given their likely wear rate is too expensive. If I end up doing more track days than I expect this year, maybe I'll just invest in a dedicated set of wheels/tires for those days.
 

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I look at the A052 the other way. They have 3.3333 times the wear rating of the A048 at a similar price. Complete bargin. LOL
I'm a hypocrite though because I had a moment of cheap when it came time to actually buy the tires.
The Exige that just went on BAT has the Extreme Contact Sport. It's a dealership that's selling it so they probably also did it to save money.
 

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Wonk - You would have to be really pushing it (or do something really dumb) to get close to the grip limit on the Toyo 888R. But a tire with less grip will probably teach you more, since you will be more likely to slide or spin. I would suggest the Bridgestone RE71R - plenty of grip but still good tread life, really good on the street (and ok in the rain) and light to medium track duty (come up to temp quickly but can get greasy when pushed too hard in summer). I set my best time at Barber Motorsports Park on them in December (didn't put the 888Rs on as mornings were cold and I was too lazy to swap tires for just a couple sessions).
 

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I had the Extreme Contact sport on my 911, and I just loved those tires. They have plenty of grip for sane street driving, great in pouring down rain and QUIET, and I mean QUIET. Would highly recommend.
I have RE71R on my Lotus that sees some track time but mostly street driven.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Looked for RE71R, but couldn't come up with a hit for my (stock) size, so unless someone has a lead, those are a non-starter.
 

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I didn’t see what size front wheels you have, if they are 6”, I wouldn’t go any wider that 195/50/16, if you have 6.5” you can fit 205/50/16, then a set of RE71R’s would work. Other than that I would buy the Continentals, you will not regret it. 🏎👍
 

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Since your car AD07s you most likely have the base wheels which are 16x5.5 in the front, which gives very few options on sizes. The AD07s are 175/55 for the front. Moving to a 195/50 will probably make the car feel not quite as responsive/nimble as with the AD07s unless they have super stiff sidewalls (A052 or R888R) as the tires are going to be pretty pinched.
Other than that I think the Contis should work given your wet weather requirements.
Why not stick with the AD07?

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Discussion Starter #14
@ScottH83 ugh you are correct about my wheel/tire setup--I never really confirmed the size of the tires on my car, I just went by what I read about the 2005 Elise. Thanks for your post. I probably would have eventually caught it, but who knows.

So the closest that Conti makes that would fit my wheels would be:

They make a rear 225/45/17 so I'm good there.

Front, however, isn't so great; closest are: 205/55/16 or 195/50/16

what do you think about going with the 205? would that even work? Would the biggest disadvantage be the comparatively sluggish feel?

thanks
 

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I would stay away from 205 anything with those wheels.
I think the Conti you listed in the first post is you best bet if you are looking for more tire life, wet weather performance, and lower cost in exchange for less crisp feel/turn in and overall grip.
I dont have much experience in the rain with the Lotus but the AD07s did well in warm wet conditions for me.

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Discussion Starter #16
I would stay away from 205 anything with those wheels.
Yea, makes sense

the options available to me with my current set of OEM wheels is disappointing.

AD07's are $260/pc front for 175/55/16, $350/pc rear for 225/45/17.

I'd rather spend money on Conti (or anything else, really) and new wheels. I guess I'll need to start doing research down that road.
 

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Yokohama Advan Sport V105 is the replacement for the AD07 and might be worth considering. One of the guys at Hethel (LDA) suggested to me that sticking with the selection of stock tires (A052 being the other as mentioned above) is not a bad idea, since they've already spent so much time figuring out which tires make the car drive well. I suppose it also depends on if you like the stock feel or the price is sensible.

In case you're wondering about the difference between the narrow and wider tire sizes, Surferjer did some testing a long time ago to compare them:

The impression was that the narrow set felt more lively, though this is the set up that understeers more. If you want lively, and maybe safer understeering behaviour, then finding another set of AD07s could be the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I decided that with my current wheelset, that this first set of replacement tires will be stock size AD07. Thanks all for the help figuring it out!
 

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@ScottH83 ugh you are correct about my wheel/tire setup--I never really confirmed the size of the tires on my car, I just went by what I read about the 2005 Elise. Thanks for your post. I probably would have eventually caught it, but who knows.

So the closest that Conti makes that would fit my wheels would be:

They make a rear 225/45/17 so I'm good there.

Front, however, isn't so great; closest are: 205/55/16 or 195/50/16

what do you think about going with the 205? would that even work? Would the biggest disadvantage be the comparatively sluggish feel?

thanks
My VF supercharged Elise came with the stock cast wheels like yours and new Conti DWS 06 (the all seasons). Talk about squishy, I hated the feel on the street.

I invested in some lighter/wider s260 wheels (16x7/17x8) with Conti ECS on the same stock sizes and the car was transformed for the better.

No more squishiness, steering is super light with tons of feedback, and I'm sure the lower unsprung weight helps everywhere. Just waiting on my Penske NA Coilovers and this car will be just right for the hill country roads and the occasional track day.

Yes... Get the Conti ECS for the street.
 
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