Heading into San Antonio for a visit, the first time since the Uncle Ro-Dawg fiasco way back when, I figured I'd try to maintain some composure. I still think the Spurs play boring-ass ball, even though they beat down my Clips the night I landed in Texas. But whatever.
A two-hour bus ride from the hotel left us at the Continental and General Tire proving grounds, in a backwoods city known as Uvalde. In just under six hours, the Conti and General Tire staff had thrown everything they had at us to test their rubbers: wet and dry road courses, wet braking, run flat slalom, and even some off road trucking.
Midway through the day, I was struggling to remember the name of each and every tire that I reviewed. Was it the Altimax HP, Sport Contact 3 or the Exclaim Ultra High Performance (UHP) that we just tore up the wet skid pad with? I guess it didn't really matter in the end. We were able to push the wet track tires much harder than expected, especially after being warned several times to not run over the sprinkler pipes. The dry UHP tires were pretty dope, too, allowing us to enter and exit corners at much higher speeds than we were used to. I could have pushed them harder, except that I suck at driving. But hey, that comes with being a Super Street staffer.
One simulation in particular was very interesting. They threw a set of bald tires on the rear with new tires on the front to show how a car handles in the wet when you skimp out on buying a full set of new tires. At 55mph, you hydroplane and spin the car out in a fashion so dangerous that it left eurotuner's Sam Du behind in the grass (That was cold-blooded. - JN).
After the whole ordeal, we headed to a ranch with skeet shooting, catfishing and what sounded like some banjo strumming in the distance. There's nothing quite like mixing adult beverages with shotguns.
Despite Global Warming, We managed to get out to Montana to test some winter tires before all the snow melted. So, why did we even bother testing winter tires for Super Street? They're designed to perform in cold weather conditions, 45 degrees and under. Living in SoCal, we don't see a lot of low temps like that. But you East Coasters and MidWesterners need a choice set of winter tires stored away somewhere for that next temperature drop. If you don't, just put it on your list of things you didn't think you needed until it was too late. Yeah, right there next to "contraceptives." After plowing around in white powder all day, it's pretty easy to see how your driving skills (or lack there of) are greatly compromised when winter conditions become a factor. Whether it's braking, accelerating, turning or just trying to avoid obstacles, you'd be amazed at how little control you have without good winter tires. Fortunately, we were placed in a controlled environment where the worst thing we could do was smack into a pile of snow. For you, the bad news is that there's people, cars and street lamps you have to avoid hitting. The good news is, we at least told you ahead of time to get some winter tires.