As many of you know, Super-G R/C Drift Arena made the decision to move to a new Spec Tire around a month ago. We know this is a big decision and it’s something to be taken seriously.
This decision was met with some resistance from a few people at our track, but for the most part people understood the reason for the change. Basically, we felt our previous Spec Tire was getting too fast. Yes, it’s a broad statement, but best describes the issue. To expand on that thought, the type of traction they provide was now making our competitions and sessions more of a point to point drag race. The tires themselves did not gain more traction, the tune and driving style just exploited a traction characteristic of that particular tire, so it was time to change. This has happened almost every year since we have opened, so we had been looking for an alternative even before it became any type of issue. Even now, we have a few tires as contenders for our next spec tire.
The difference between our old spec and new is subtle, but definitely what we were/are after. Our findings (Only what we are finding at Super-G) are as follows:
Less Forward Bite:
Forward bite was the main characteristic that was causing concern on our previous spec. This issue is 2-fold and the main contributor to the style of driving we were seeing. With a higher level of forward bite, it promotes darting out of the corners and trying to get to the next as fast as possible. At the same time, a low speed, high angle drift becomes “less fun” since you need to grab a ton of throttle, or grip up and straighten or dive shallow. Indirectly, more forward bite promotes shallow angle drifts when compared to a tire with less. (Of course everyone CAN grab a ton of throttle to get that high angle and low speed drift such as in a competition when chasing a slower car, but this doesn’t happen naturally and nobody will drive this way all the time. When the natural speed of a tire becomes too fast, for us it is time to change.)
Some have argued they can “hang” with the new spec, even though it has less forward bite. When put to the test, they needed to run shallow angle with minimal wheel spin to keep up. If you enjoy driving with shallow angle and minimal wheel spin to make a point, sure, why not. The reality is, if you continue to drive the same as you have before the change, not trying to prove a point, everything slows down a bit, lines become smoother, angle becomes more consistent.
Less Sideways Bite:
The new spec has less sideways bite which has promoted more angle, more consistent proximity, and smoother transitions.
It also has exposed improper tuning which was being masked by an overall grippier tire. Chassis which were tuned to barely get by are now experiencing some issues of spinning or not being able to initiate a drift correctly. In my opinion this is a good thing since it allows the opportunity for the newer guys to grow. Upping your tuning game is never a bad thing. As expected, we have witnessed the veteran guys helping the beginners get dialed.
Ever since we opened doors here at Super-G, the tire chase has been real. I will be the first to admit I thought it was ridiculous that everyone tunes to be faster, so we change tires to slow down. Then the process starts all over again. My argument which I strongly believed in was, it was not a tire issue, but rather an issue of the people always trying to be faster. We tried to get people to just not drive as fast, or slow down and change their style of driving or tune, but it NEVER worked. You end up with that ONE guy who drives fast, and the next thing you know, EVERYONE is going fast again. It’s the nature of the beast. I finally needed to let my original beliefs go, and just accept the fact that it will always be like that. Tuning styles change, technology changes, chassis designs change, etc. It’s all in pursuit of better and more efficient performance and gaining as much traction from what little we have.
We have found the DS Racing FFFF Zero Mark II to be what works at the moment here at Super-G. It is giving us a very consistent slide with enough forward bite to get us going, but not so much where it’s promoting a drag race out of every corner. Someone brought up the point that when they are new (not worn in) they have some imperfections. We are aware of this, but once they are worn in, they perform as any other tire we have used. This is a case of compound/performance over appearance. They also have a longer break-in period. Our previous spec tire took about 15 minutes to break-in, our new spec is closer to 45 minutes. This is to be expected with a harder compound tire.
Results After 1 Month:
The speeds and driving style has shifted from trying to be as fast as possible to more emphasis on clean driving and style. We are still seeing some good top speed on the straight, but it takes more skill to navigate the sweeper at the end. We are seeing more angle, better proximity, and smoother driving overall. The feedback has been great and our customers have really taken a liking to the new spec. We are very pleased with the tire choice and results.
In conclusion, we hope everyone understands we are not saying Tire A is better than Tire B. For us it’s a matter of which compound works best for us. For this round we tested over 15 (Maybe more) different tire compounds before deciding. For anyone doubting the evolution of the speed of chassis and tuning, throw on a set of MST Gold Dots and give it a try. This was our spec tire before DRCs. The current round of chassis raised the average speed and forced the switch to a slower tire. Every tire has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but if we never took the step forward and changed tires, we would still be running on T-Drifts.