Nitto NT01 R-compound TireIf your circuit skills are advancing and you're enjoying three or more track days per season, consider purchasing a dedicated set of wheels and R-compound tires. This will save wear and tear on expensive performance street tires, while providing vastly improved grip when lapping. R-compound tires are designed to provide optimum adhesion at track use temperatures, typically ranging between 160 to 220 degrees F. This, of course, requires careful and complete warming up of the tires before going for that new lap record. Also, most R-compound tires do not perform well in wet conditions due to their specialized rubber compounds, the lower working temperatures and significantly reduced tread depths (use a street setup on wet track days; wear will be minimal and the additional tread depth will evacuate standing water).
Nitto Tire USA provided a set of Nitto NT01 R-compounds for us to test at the track. The NT01 has a specially formulated compound for hot on-track performance that delivers extreme cornering grip for faster and more consistent lap times. An asymmetrical, non-directional tread pattern allows easy rotation on either standard or staggered setups. The tire also has an extremely large outer shoulder to maximize the contact patch under heavy cornering. The tread depth is 6/32 of an inch (about half that of a performance summer tire) and it can be shaved to 3/32 of an inch to reveal a 'slick' tread surface with two circumferential tread grooves. This NT01 is manufactured with a high-modulus rayon carcass and body ply construction for maximum lateral and high-speed stability.
Trackside, the NT01s perform admirably under dry conditions. Turn-in and feedback are precise and reliable. Cornering grip is astounding, while the breakaway qualities feel progressive and forgiving, although the NT01s make virtually no audible warning (i.e. no screeching, a common trait of R-compounds). They also display excellent consistency throughout the day even when track temperatures fluctuate. Neither do they become "greasy" toward the end of a longer session as long as tire pressures are managed properly. Optimum cornering grip and even tire wear occurs with hot tire pressures of 42-43 psi. With a wear rating of 100 UTQG, they hold up to punishment and testing over several track outings on our 3,200-pound test car. Check out the quantitative data presented in the upcoming sixth installment of Project Z4M.
Nitto NT01s are DOT-approved, so you could drive to an event with them already fitted (but be aware of their slightly lower grip level when below the track temperature range). One minor negative point: They're rather noisy on the street at low speeds. But this is a small price to pay for supreme dry track performance. -Doug Neilson
Nitto NT01s are currently available in the following sizes:205/55ZR-14205/50ZR-15225/45ZR-15245/50ZR-16205/40ZR-17215/45ZR-17225/45ZR-17235/40ZR-17245/45ZR-17255/40ZR-17275/40ZR-17P315/35ZR17225/40ZR-18235/40ZR-18245/40ZR-18275/35ZR-18275/40ZR-18P315/30ZR-18
Nitto Tire USA Inc. 888.398.7361 www.nittotire.com
Eagle One protects a vehicle's luminous finish with the new carnauba-formulated NanoWash and Wax system. Microsopic wax particles penetrate and extract deep dust, dirt, and grime, for a smooth mirror finish that protects against fading and oxidation. A one-step measuring cap ensures optimal results for every use. Available at all leading auto parts retailers. From $5.49Eagle One 800.432.4531 www.eagleone.com
Ocean State Abrasives makes pits and scratches disappear with the Scratch Magic Glass Repair Kit. Designed for windshields (and windscreens) on cars, trucks, RVs, motor homes, and boats, this DIY application features optical-grade polishing compounds with a 6-inch drill mount assembly. Protect yourself from light refraction with this water-soluble and environmentally safe application. Fleet size maintenance kits are available. From $39.95Ocean State Abrasives 401.789.9550 www.osabrasives.com
German-infused Vogtland Sport Suspension offers '08 Audi S5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class owners its latest high-performance lowering springs. Using a cold-coiling process, Vogtland springs are tempered, shot-peened, and preset for both consistent vehicle ride height and suspension functions. Audi owners will notice their cars lowered by 1.4 inches (35 mm) while the Mercedes-Benz is only lowered by 1 inch (25 mm). Vogtland touts reduced excess unsprung weight for improved adhesion and a lower center of gravity. Sprint Cup Team approved.Vogtland Suspension Systems 951.694.6981 www.vogtland.com
Spec Clutches and Flywheels offers configurable multi-disc clutch and flywheel assemblies for Volkswagen 1.8T five- and six-speed applications. Purpose-built and designed for limited, street, road, and drag racing, every unit carries strict inertia requirements and load properties. Each assembly houses a high-tensile racing bolt kit, bearings, and SFI certification for optimal rotating properties. Contact manufacturer for pricing.SPEC Clutches and Flywheels800.828.4379 www.specclutch.com
Wheel Of The Month
Vossen Wheels' newest luxury alloy addition offers European enthusiasts an affordable wheel fitment. Designed to create the ambience of a multi-piece wheel, the VVS-083 features a 4-inch stainless steel lip and is compatible with tire pressure sensors. Available in 20x9, 20x10.5, 22x9, and 22x10.5 formats. From $549Vossen 888.463.7778 www.vossenwheels.com