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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Lets talk tires.

So as I am rounding my first season of autocrossing and have completely killed my all season Bridgestone grids I am shopping for tires and have come across so manny people with such different opinions but none of the mazda 3 driver so I figured I would ask you guys what tires you run.

I am buying more all season tires in a few days since I cave chunks missing from the ones on now . After looking around I am thinking of going with the falken ze-912 . It's a 360 aa traction w/ 40k mile warranty ( hahaha I void warranties ) any one useing these or have used them.

And for the track I am still considering too many to list .. What's is your favorite dot approved race tire ? I am also considering useing a 16" wheel and tire combo to get a little lighter and maybe a stiffer sidewall. What do you think about this?


So I am looking for all of you guys opinions so let me know what you think

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 09:08 PM
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I'll be in the exact same predicament after a couple more events, buying all-seasons for normal driving(and this winter) + another set of wheels/tires for autocross.

I'm going to get Continental DWS for my all-seasons... they're phenomenal tires. I've gotten to drive a lot of different cars with those tires, and they are honestly really damn good in the snow for not being a snow tire. A coworker of mine has them on his wife's S60R and I rode with him to lunch last year, he nailed it from a stop and the damn thing took off faster than my Mazda3, and stopped faster than my car(in the dry) as well... there was 3" of snow on the ground(not plowed in the lot he did this in). They're not big $$ either.

Also have driven a Kia Optima with these tires in an ice-packed parkinglot... again super impressed with how well it handled the snow. Taking off, stopping, turning, everything.

I'm sure real snow tires are better, but near new to 75% DWS tires are great in the snow.





As for autocross tires, I think I'll go for the RS3s. That is the tire that the fastest Mazda3 driver runs in my region(he is stupid fast), that is what another hotshoe Mazdaspeed3 driver runs(though I haven't talked to them), and many other "heavier" cars like BMW 3 series and a still run the RS3.

A lot of people are jumping to the BFGs and everyone I've talked to has liked them... but not been super impressed with them(one on an 08ish Civic SI, and someone else on another BMW). Granted, they're not pros or anything, but they're some regularly top 20% drivers... in my region that's doing pretty damn good.

Between Star Specs, BFGs, RS3s, and RE-11As you can't go wrong.

I'll probably go for the RS3s because I don't want an inside-outside tire, and I've heard the RS3s are easier to drive fast, while the Star Spec ZIIs are more "peaky" and they break away at the limit and you need to overcompensate considerably to bring them back to "grip" again either by slowing down or reducing steering angle depending on if it's over or understeer... it's supposedly not a linear breakaway like some other tires.

I am curious about the RE-11As because nobody seems to give them a thought, whenever I buy I'll probably just get whichever is the best deal and happens to be in stock.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by flatlander937 View Post
I'm going to get Continental DWS for my all-seasons... they're phenomenal tires.
+1 on the Conti DSW's. I have been running them for the past few winters and beyond getting some dedicated snow tires, I believe the DSW's are hands down the best all season's out there.

I couldn't believe the difference when I first got them.
1) They are quieter than the OEM tires.
2) I actually got 2 mpg better with these tires.
3) In the winter on the OEM Goodyear's, the traction control would always kick in, rain or snow. In fact, I dreaded even an inch of snow. The Goodyear's had no traction at all. After installing the Conti DSW's, the traction control rarely if ever came on. That's how good these tires are.

So if you haven't bought all seasons yet, take a serious look at the Continental DSW Extreme Contact.

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Originally Posted by flatlander937 View Post
As for autocross tires, I think I'll go for the RS3s. That is the tire that the fastest Mazda3 driver runs in my region(he is stupid fast), that is what another hotshoe Mazdaspeed3 driver runs(though I haven't talked to them), and many other "heavier" cars like BMW 3 series and a still run the RS3.

A lot of people are jumping to the BFGs and everyone I've talked to has liked them... but not been super impressed with them(one on an 08ish Civic SI, and someone else on another BMW). Granted, they're not pros or anything, but they're some regularly top 20% drivers... in my region that's doing pretty damn good.

Between Star Specs, BFGs, RS3s, and RE-11As you can't go wrong.

I'll probably go for the RS3s because I don't want an inside-outside tire, and I've heard the RS3s are easier to drive fast, while the Star Spec ZIIs are more "peaky" and they break away at the limit and you need to overcompensate considerably to bring them back to "grip" again either by slowing down or reducing steering angle depending on if it's over or understeer... it's supposedly not a linear breakaway like some other tires.

I am curious about the RE-11As because nobody seems to give them a thought, whenever I buy I'll probably just get whichever is the best deal and happens to be in stock.
Regarding track tires, I have been running the Direzza Star Specs ZI's as both my summer and track tires. They are very loud and the next set will strictly be for the track. As a whole, I really like these tires. I have done well with them but I agree with flatlander's observations. Let's just summarize by saying the ZI's are very capable tires but require more skill to get the most of them. Where they excel is by being both a daily tire, including heavy rain, and a track tire. Also note, I don't have any direct experience with the ZII's but I here they are much improved.

If you intend to run these tires strictly on the track, I would recommend the Kuhmo's. The only downside is they require a lot of heat to be sticky but when it's hot they stick like glue.

Another suggestion as well. You mentioned going to a 16" rim. It's a good idea, especially for AutoX. However, I wouldn't recommend a shorter sidewall (low profile). If your still new to AutoX, running a lower profile tire will not be forgiving. You will reach peak grip much more quickly and may be likely to spin out. I'd still go with a 16" or maybe a 17", just don't go low profile unless you are very comfortable driving at the limits.

I have been doing this and it's working for me, but at times it can be really scary.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 10:39 PM
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Also I forgot to add I'll be staying on 17s... I thought about going to 16s but in reality 16" wheels are going away... tire choices will only get more scarce compared to 17s which is the new popular size.

Same thing happened with offroad tires over the last 10 years... 15s used to be the size to have but bigger brakes and bigger trucks/Jeeps in general warrant 17s minimum... which is what is now the most popular offroad truck rim size in general(when it comes to 35"+).

Plus 16s might not allow real big brakes which you might want if you want to do track days. It's really personal preference overall, future tire choice is my reasoning.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 08:18 AM
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I 100% agree on the Conti DWS as an all around great all season. Also the DW is a decent autocross tire too. I have had a set of (daily driven only) Falken 512s for a couple years now...60k miles and still going. Very rarely have I pushed them to their limits so I can't comment on how durable they are when constant abuse is put on them. It doesn't snow in SC so I can't comment on that, but they are competent in the rain.

As far as DOT track tires, if your talking slicks Hoosier R6, BFG R1, Toyo Proxes, Hankook C51, or Kumho V710. If your talking streets Hankook RS3, BFG Rival, Dunlop ZII, Kumho XS, or Falken Azenis 615. I've autocrossed Dunlops and Hankooks the past couple years. I like the feel of the Star Specs better (significantly more forgiving and informative), but the RS3s are undeniably faster...in autox. I can't speak for any of these tires in a track setting. You would really want to consider durability, which I think would eliminate the RS3 and ZII. And as mentioned, do consider 17" wheels because it will give you many, many more options.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 08:30 AM
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I run Falken RT 615 on the street, and track them when it's too cold for rcomps or raining. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I don't need all seasons. I live in Canada, eh, so I have snow tires on the car from November to April. During the summer I currently use Hoosier race take offs from the Koni Cup (that should give you an idea of how old they are). When I bought them I was told they are a harder wearing compound (not soft).

The 615s are pretty good on the track. They always have more traction than I think they will. They make a little noise, but aren't as audible as I'd like when they are at the limit. The Hoosiers have so much traction, and take more fine tuning of tire pressure to get the car to slide around the apex.

Personally, if I can find race take offs I'll jump on those over buying new. In my area you can buy lightly scrubbed race take offs (sometimes less than 10 laps at race pace) for 1/4 - 1/2 the cost of new.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Stickertuner View Post
I am also considering useing a 16" wheel and tire combo to get a little lighter and maybe a stiffer sidewall. What do you think about this?
I found the opposite to be true in my case. When I went from a 17" to 18" wheel. I was looking at Enkei RPF1 wheels at 7.5" wide and a 225 tire (225/45/17, 225/40/18). Looking at the numbers, the 18" wheel was a half pound heavier but the 18" tire was 2 pounds lighter. This could be tire brand differences (Dunlops 17", Hankook 18"), but the 18" sidewall was significantly stiffer than the 17"...I ran a bit less pressure in the 18" tire with less roll over.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 09:33 AM
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I 100% agree on the Conti DWS as an all around great all season. Also the DW is a decent autocross tire too.

Only in a monsoon.

I ran my DW's at the Northeast Match Tour (long story as to why.)

The sidewalls are extremely soft, even when compared with the BFG all seasons that I had just taken off.

Great in the rain, horrible in the dry.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 09:38 AM
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I went and picked up a new set of wheels, enkei GW8's 18x7.5s, so I can mount dedicated winter tires on my stock wheels.
The oem tires were so bad last winter I was scared to go over 30mph whenever it snowed.
I haven't decided what tires to put on my new wheels or what winter tires to put on my stock wheels.
Any suggestions?
I want tires that have less road noise and decent tread life, with about the same or better handling as my stock tires. My car is a daily driver and I don't race or autocross with it.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 12:31 PM
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Only in a monsoon.

I ran my DW's at the Northeast Match Tour (long story as to why.)

The sidewalls are extremely soft, even when compared with the BFG all seasons that I had just taken off.

Great in the rain, horrible in the dry.
Same goes with the DWS. Good tire, just too soft of side wall.
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