View Full Version : Road Racing: Hoosier R-Compound Tires/Wheels From HHP Racing

02-11-2009, 09:37 PM
Well, as most everybody knows I run this car on the track quite a lot. Tomorrow I hit Laguna Seca again for the first of two times this month. Tomorrow will be a prep day and when I go back on the 25th, I will be angling to beat my unofficial LX-best lap time of 1:53.7.

I got hold of all the in-car driving instruction I could for the last half of 2008. That should help, but thanks to Josh and HHP Racing for getting them to me in record time, I have a secret weapon on the car, and some research to share.



Up to this point I have been running a set of 20" SRT wheels shod with Bridgestone RE-050A Pole Position tires, sized at a skinny 255/35/20. This is a AA traction, 140 UTQG tire that has proven to be the best performer available up to this time. Not only does the car handle well on the track with them - certainly better than the Goodyear F1 Supercars - once tire pressure was figured out (44 psi hot, 36 cold) the tires wear amazingly well, with a pair being good for up to 9 track days before giving up the ghost (you rotate the rears to the front and put the new pair on the back).

Regardless of how well they do, they are street tires. 140 treadwear is sticky, but its not anything like a road racing slick that has a treadwear of 40 (as in Forty). The only hitch in the giddyap was that we drive BIG cars and road course radials are mostly made for small ones. Period. What is available in 18" and 19" sizes - and thats a mighty short list - is usually a very short aspect-ratio tire that requires a 10 or 11-inch rim. And the tires are flat out not rated for the curb weights our cars throw around.

TTMR is, I believe, the first guy to put road radials on an LX. He's using BF Goodrich R1's sized at 225/40/18 on stock 18" AWD wheels with great results.

However good his results are, I'm just not comfortable running with a tire that is 25" tall and 225mm wide. Especially since his results are coming out of an AWD that has got to be at least three or four inches higher than my car, and is a V6. I need as much rubber on the ground as I can get my hands on, and I don't want to be dragging my rockers around a corner... something I'm kind of close to doing as it is now with the 27"-diameter Bridgestones.

Also, I had high hopes that the Nissan GT-R, whose front tires are 255/40/20, would induce some manufacturers to bring out some good rubber for that car. Alas, after talking to most of them, the costs associated with 20" track rubber compared to the size of the market meant I basically got one answr from the lot: It ain't gonna happen. Not only that, but the high performance tires out there for the GT-R are runflats... so if I go to that size I'm looking at 38-lb tires. An expensive and far from safe experiment.

So honest-to-God track rubber seemed to be the inescapable conclusion. Looking around (and around and around and around) at both tires and affordable wheels, there really was only one suitable candidate: The Hoosier R6 in 255/40/18. Couple that to the fact that the very-familiar, strong, light and cheap Borbet TS comes in an 18x8.5 size (where it seems to be unusual to find an 8.5" wide rim... and impossible to find an 18x9 thats not custom made)... We had what looked like a winner.

After a little research, I got confirmation that the 17" Borbet TS would clear my Wilwood brakes just fine (thanks to Cam!), so with the 18's I should be golden.

But the tires... On paper, using them is a stretch. And besides... this is a 4400 lb moving van I'm slinging around. I figured I had better get on the phone to Hoosier, spell out to them exactly what was going on and get them to sign off on this deal.

And sign off they did. I have had a couple of conversations with Hoosier. People specifically responsible for the R6. First of all, the 255-width tire is just fine for the 8.5" rim. No issue there. Next, the tire can indeed take on a 4400 lb behemoth. The trick is to add tire pressure up to the point that tire wear and rollover isn't an issue. And therein lies the rub. Big surprise: No one has ever tried to run with these tires on such a big car. The biggest Hoosier has any experience with are tracked BMW sedans in the 3800-4000 lb range.

I was advised to start out my COLD tire pressure at 45 lbs, and work my way down. The BMWs are working at about 50 psi hot and our target is likely to be roughly 55 psi hot... but nobody knows. I'll find out tomorrow when I hit the track.

Wish me luck. By the end of the day I'll know how well this experiment worked. I'll say one thing for sure: These tires are STICKY. You press your thumb into the tread area and... it leaves a thumbprint, and you have to pull your stuck-on finger off the rubber.


02-11-2009, 09:37 PM
I want to give a special shout-out to Josh at HHP Racing. Most everybody knows Josh is one of the good guys, and has been a longtime supporter of the LX platform. Going back to when our list of supporting vendors was only one or two long... Josh was there for us. He's helped me out many times over the years and, when was getting thru my research and found he already offered the Borbet wheels in 17" sizes (coupled to DR's for drag packs) on his web site, I called him up, told him what I was up to and he confirmed that he could get this setup to me no problem.

Which he did, and I sure didn't make it easy for him. See, we talked about this awhile back and basically I chickened out given the cost. I've put too much money into this car and I enjoy racing it without pouring more mod money into it. However, not much more than a week before D-Day, I realized I needed two tires anyway, and [insert BS justification here... you know how that goes]. So I called Josh and he was still able to do the deal at an excellent price. Tires mounted and road-force balanced. They were even heat-cycled for me (heat cycling tires yourself is a giant PITA). Once again, great service from one of the family.


On another note, some of you reading this may be jumping up and down and getting ready to write posts about the Nitto NT-05 that has just been released in some very attractive sizes. Yes, I know about this 200-treadwear, AA-traction *slick* that has just barely enough marks on the tread to get it past the DOT.

That'll be my next set of street tires :D

And I'm keeping the Bridgestones for track days when it rains. I haven't quite figured out how to store two extra sets of wheels yet. :-|

USCG Charger
02-11-2009, 09:42 PM
Cool tires BTW....You have a secret weapon on the car??? Did you come to.... and buy you an Inertia motor? :wink:

02-11-2009, 09:51 PM
:-) No but I'm sure Stu builds 'em fine. I almost went the 383 route as you know ... 'twas not to be.

02-11-2009, 09:58 PM
Very cool Matt I would ve very intrested to hear how this goes.

With the track day coming up and I need some track skins as I will be doing several road days this summer ( minium drag racing this season ) I would like to have a good tire that I wont be peeling chunks out of :)

I really wish that the Ved or the 05's had a 255 45 20 to pare with the 275 40's they currently have.


02-11-2009, 10:03 PM
I really wish that the Ved or the 05's had a 255 45 20 to pare with the 275 40's they currently have.
Last I heard from Nitto, The NT05's should have 255/45/20 out in the second quarter of this year. Me, I'm gonna throw on either those or the 275's all around.

02-11-2009, 10:04 PM
Very nice! If it tracks as good as it looks you'll be a happy racer :thumbs_u:

02-11-2009, 10:25 PM
Sounds good Matt! :thumbs_u: Looking forward to the test results!

btw- TTMR is running Borbet rims. ;)

I'll be running my stock 18" rims, but with new tires, probably 245/45/18's... stay tuned! :mrgreen:

02-11-2009, 10:29 PM
I've run the Hoosier RR tires on another (far lighter) car a few years back. They are simply awesome. You'll have loads of fun.

I'm assuming you've looked into Pirelli. I believe the Mopar Targa Challenger ran them. They have a 255/40-19 (27" OD), and a 285/35-19 (26.8" OD). I could be wrong, but I think the Challenger ran the latter. Here's a link...



Good luck! I so happy there are folks running LXs on road courses.

02-11-2009, 10:49 PM
btw- TTMR is running Borbet rims. ;)No ****? He pm'd me a pic of his setup when I was doing early research (thanks BTW, TTMR!) and I could have sworn I saw stock AWD rims. Dead brain cells make their absence known once again.

I'll be running my stock 18" rims, but with new tires, probably 245/45/18's... stay tuned! :mrgreen:Where the hell did you find a 45-aspect ratio tire at???

I'm assuming you've looked into Pirelli. Oh yeah I have. The 255/40/19 is a 27" tire and looked quite splendid on paper. But they are pushing into $400 a tire territory, and being a 19" size (as in "goofball") I wasn't happy with the fact that I would be buying rims that would have a dramatically more limited range of options to shoe them with. And speaking of rims, I couldn't find a rim I felt comfortable road racing with. There were a few that would fit the size, but can they take the kind of stress that I dish out when taking corners at Warp 6? The Borbets have a bit of a pedigree (are they TUV stamped? Might be... have already packed the car so they ain't coming out until I'm in the paddock) and that counted for a lot. All I could find in 19's -- and again cost was a factor -- was fanboi stuff.

I was clueless on the Mopar Challenger. Following those links now...

02-11-2009, 10:56 PM
Where the hell did you find a 45-aspect ratio tire at???

Tire Rack- Sumitomo HTR Z3: All sortsa fun sizes, XL rated, and the 245/45's are only $138 each! :mrgreen:
The 300 treadwear is "relatively" high, but still a LOT better than what I've run before. I also wanted a streetable tire, so when I run the nearby autocrosses I can change tires at home and drive down.

Since the stock rims are only 7 1/2" wide, the tire calculator's say this size will fit, and still give me the slightly smaller diameter I wanted- 26.6"

02-12-2009, 12:04 AM
Damn your car is nice Matt.

02-12-2009, 07:33 AM
Can't wait to hear the results on these. I have tried Kumho, General (Exclaim, not truck), now on KDW2, all were good - not great.

02-12-2009, 10:20 PM
I was looking at the Kumo XS on a 18" stock rim, or the Star specs.

245/40 or 35 will fit the stock rim OK. Any input?

I have an extra set of stock wheels to mount them on and didn't want to go to R compound for auto X and Buttonwillow.
Just running a mild stage 1 build and stage II suspension, but limited by driving ability and ball size.

02-12-2009, 10:26 PM
You 'da Man Matt!

Very cool indeed!!:beerchug:

Hey, gots to fix your badges on the hood, I think the "6' is leaning back a bit and "4" leaning forward just a bit, I could never drive a car with crooked badges!:Na_Na_Na_Na:

02-12-2009, 10:28 PM
Right on Matt! Now your talking dude! Those tires are gonna work great!

02-12-2009, 10:39 PM
matt why not try the michelin pilot sport cups. suppose to be the best tire period. 80 tread wear. or what about the michelin pilot ps2. i am going to try these this summer. they come standard on the fast and best handling cars in the world. i live vicariously thru you

02-13-2009, 12:47 AM
matt why not try the michelin pilot sport cups. suppose to be the best tire period. 80 tread wear. or what about the michelin pilot ps2. i am going to try these this summer. they come standard on the fast and best handling cars in the world
...who have different rims than we do. There's the rub. You can find lots of tires but matching them to an affordable, safe-to-race rim is where it gets dicey.

The Pilot Sport Cups (Michelin's R compound competition tire) doesn't come in the right size for either an 18" or 20" wheel. Closest is 265/35/18 and thats a minimum 9" wheel. Worse, the diameter is 25.2". Thats just too damn small.

I've mulled the PS2's as a replacement to the Bridgestone RE050A Pole Positions I have been using, but flat out, they are $400 tires and I can get as much as 9 days use out of a pair of the BS PP's, which perform very very well at $325. If I was going to go a new route with tires I was going R compounds and not street tires. I've gone about as far as I can on street rubber.

Lets see... what else? Oh yeah, I went racing today. Also, I am tired as hell. Let me give you guys the Readers Digest version and I'll elaborate a bunch in a new thread.

It farking rained as late as about 6:40 am. Then the sun didn't want to come out so the track stayed wet throughout the morning. I ran on the Bridgestones for the first two sessions as a result. No video. Been there done that on street tires. Too bad too because we were driving on greased glass and a GT40 spun out right smack in front of me.
The Hoosiers went on for the first afternoon session. 45 psi cold per Hoosier's best guess as to what pressure I needed. I apologized in advance to the group as I figured I would be skating all over the place on overinflated tires.
They weren't overinflated. I think. I have maybe the funnest run ever in my life. Started near the back of the pack and just TORE through it. It was like all but one or two of them were in slow motion. Honk. Honk. We're talking Master of the Universe type stuff. Ask Cam what kind of mood I was in when I called him right after.
I learn that my brake problems are solved. I don't need brakes anymore. I just turn the steering wheel and forget about braking. Later on, I start growing a pair and sporadically start moving into third gear here and there on track segments that I've been locked into a 6000 rpm float in second on, cuz if I go to 3rd I get catapulted to a too-fast speed and cook the brakes hauling myself back down at the next curve. That problem is gone now and I have to re-learn the course completely.
Using the video I took of my final run, I can see where that 3rd gear stuff, which I did not apply systematically, made me up to 4 seconds faster if I had just done it consistently everywhere and run into no traffic.
Um... the tires wear incredibly fast. If I had them on the whole day I might have worn them clean out. See above as to why. There must be a happy medium between braking and acceleration in there somewhere. More learning.
I get some pretty mad props from folks. The best were from the instructors who came over and were struck by who I was keeping up with or passing. Only a race car and a Z06 were faster and the race car (an AWD WRX STI) had to work at it to lose me.
Using a handheld stopwatch on that same video, It looks like I put in one lap at 1:52.4. I need to do a frame-by-frame time index to see if that holds up. If it does I beat my best by over a full second while still futzing about and not knowing what the hell I am doing. The timing method doesn't conform to the "rules" we have so it doesn' count for anything. But it is nice to see.

I'll write stuff up in a dedicated thread or something. In the meantime, some pics.

Just coming out of Turn 11 and hammering it on the front straight. That astro turf you see has nasty consequences if you put a wheel onto it.


Runing up the hill between Turns 5 and 6. The camera guy leaned a little for effect cuz the hill isn't that steep, but this part of the course and the continuation up the hill from 6 to 7 are where the big V8 eats stuff alive.

Down the Corkscrew on 26" tires. [email protected] called it ... Zoomed in, front clearance on the spoiler is about 1 inch. Maybe. No rubbing in the fender wells.


02-13-2009, 01:22 AM

02-13-2009, 10:01 AM
Congratulations Matt!! :beerchug: Now you know how I felt at Mid Ohio watching TTMR go flying past me! :shock: It's amazing what a difference those kind of tires make. Oh... start watching your roof line for wrinkles... :mrgreen:

Looking forward to the write up and video! :banana:

Sounds like you should arrange for Steve to ride with you again. :thumbs_u:

02-13-2009, 10:05 AM
beep beep, gotta go! Thats awesome Matt! Ive been eyeballing those tires for awhile. Proof is out!!!

02-14-2009, 09:51 PM
Congrats Matt!

02-26-2009, 12:07 PM
Woohoo! Thanks for the time into the research for the rims. I bought them for snow tires. Now it looks like i can change them out for track slicks in the summer!