29 Mar Nangkang semi slick racing tyres
As a race car driver I know fully, just how much quicker you can be on the right tyre. To this end many tyre companies produce semi slick, which are basically treaded slick racing tyres that in most cases are also road legal. The grip provided by these tyres in dry conditions is phenomenal when compared to the average street tyre, but wet weather performance tends to fall off dramatically. All tyres are processed with varying rubber compounds that have a bearing on how fast the tyre will wear during use. This compound is usually marked on the tyre sidewall as the wear rate. Wear rates are listed as a numerical figure typically between 60 & 300+. The lower the figure, the softer the rubber and therefore the shorter the lifespan of the tyre. On the other hand, the softer the tyre, the more grip it gives, providing better, more stable handling characteristics. From this you can see that a semi slick tyre will have nowhere near the lifespan of general street tyres. Most semi slick tyres on the market today are considerably dearer than even the best performing street tyre.
In recent years Nangkang tyres have been developing & selling semi slick tyres that are very well priced. They started with a tyre with the model code of NS2R, which was released in both 180 & 120 wear rates. These tyres have been used in more than 1 category of racing in Australia, and I know of quite a few people that use the 180 rated tyre on there street car for spirited driving. These tyres however are very noisy on the road, much like many of the all terrain 4WD tyres.
More recently Nangkang have released the AR-1 which is a softer tyre with an 80 wear rate. These are the tyre that I now use for both the hillclimbs & my circuit racing. Although they don’t provide as much grip as some of the leading race tyres, I believe that they are absolutely the BEST VALUE FOR MONEY semi slick tyre available on the market today, and the performance will only improve with further development & feedback from racing drivers around the world. They make my little MX5 sure footed and very predictable, while giving excellent grip through many heat cycles for the full life of the tyre. I am on only my second set after the first set lasted 2 complete seasons, consisting of a twenty two hillclimbs, eight supersprints & two 6 hour relays, with times consistently close to my personal best, whenever weather & track conditions allowed. As word gets out we are seeing more & more Nangkang tyres at our racetrack, which is only helping to enhance the name as one of the world’s great tyre manufacturers.