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Old 12-31-2004, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default When should I use slicks and when should I keep the RE070s on?

I've never used slicks before, but the new 2005 year is my second full autocross season and I've been thinking about becoming more competitive. I usually finish near the top of A-stock, but I'd like to finish all the way at the top and save my RE070s some abuse I'm thinking of buying these Avon Tech R slicks from tirerack:


What conditions should I run with slicks and when should I keep the RE070s on? Obviously if it's dry I should run the slicks, but what if it's just damp? What if there are small puddles? Should I keep the RE070s on in a sprinkle? What about a downpour?

Also, assuming optimal dry and hot conditions, how much time should slicks be good for per minute? Last auto-x I attended I was 2nd out of 10 and about 2 seconds behind the leader with a time of 50 seconds.
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:58 PM   #2
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If you are going to run "stickies", Hoosier or V710 seems to be the way to go. Someone on the board tried the Avons and was not impressed due to tread delamination. I'll see if I can find the thread.

It may have been on the SCCA forums...

Last edited by zoomfactor; 12-31-2004 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 01-01-2005, 01:39 AM   #3
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Warning, long rambling post from someone who's not a national contender...

Technically I think you're looking for R compounds, not slicks (the latter being completely slick race tires used in the prepared and modified classes, but not allowed in stock, *SP, ST*, or SM*).

As for saving your RE070s some abuse, the RE070s will take a lot more beating than any good R compound, though the tradeoff is that it won't grip as well. It'll cost you a lot more to go with race tires (but your results will make you want to keep punishing your wallet).

As zoomfactor said, the Avon doesn't seem to have a big following. I'd stick with something better thought of. The V710 is the tire to have at this moment (Hoosier will probably come out with something new before long). Unfortunately the smallest 17" tire is a 275/40-17 which would have some fitment issues (it can work, but you'd better know what you're doing). The Hoosier A3S04 would likely be the next choice for speed, but they're a bit pricey and wear quickly, especially if you don't have enough negative camber. The Kumho Ecsta V700 worked for me but they have their detractors. The Kumho Victoracer V700 is the old standby. The Toyo RA-1 will outlast any of the above R compounds by 2-3x but isn't quite as grippy (but is way better than an RE070 or any street tire).

What conditions? I've been told and it seems to be true that you'd be surprised how well they work even in non-ideal conditions. If it's damp, use the race tires. I've done FTD on zero-tread race tires while running the wipers on high (against the other guy's dry runs, which says more about the competition than it does my driving). However, if you have any standing water (puddles), then you'll hydroplane all over the place. I did one event like that and everything was great until I got to a big puddle in the slalom, where like everyone else on slick tires I just went straight forward while the steering wheel had no effect on the car. The guy who beat us all badly was the only one with (1) a dedicated set of rain tires (in this case new full-tread Kumhos), and (2) aftermarket traction control for his SM2 monster. Note that these were my only two rain events! But it seem that race tires usually have the advantage unless you get to hydroplaning or snow.

How much time are they good for? 1.5 to 3 seconds per 60 -- call it 2 seconds or so. That is versus good 140 treadwear tires like an RE070, Kumho MX, or Falken Azenis. Versus an all-season it would be more. Now they're a bit different to drive, but I think you'll be happily surprised. Really, they allow you to brake later, turn at a higher speed, and get on the throttle sooner (somewhat). Some anecdotes about this:

In the first half of 2003 I raced a CS Miata. It had Falken Azenis on it, and I started about the same time as another CS driver. When he had on his Falken street tires we would be about even, with my optimistic recollection being that I'd usually beat him by a sliver (a tenth or so). When he put on his Kumho Victoracers, he'd crush me by 2 seconds on a 40-50 second course. Of course we'd both get beat by the experienced drivers who also had race tires.

At my last autocross of 2003, I finished 5th in PAX while driving on the stock RE070s. I'd never driven on R compounds before. I speculated that perhaps the AWD Subaru didn't get the same 2+ second advantage from race tires that other cars seem to get. After all, if I was 2 seconds faster I would have won the overall PAX, and that's absurd! The first two events of 2004 in my region, running Toyo RA-1 tires, I came in first in PAX. Hmm. Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus.

I went to an local autocross school and autocross in another region. Siince the site is hard on tires and I'm not competing for points in that region, I chose to run my street tires (Falken Azenis at that time). I did so-so in the event (part tires, part because I got outdriven ). Anyway, I went for a ride with another person from my town who drove down. She drives a BSP M3 and normally finishes way behind me. We go through the first slalom, head toward the entrance to the first corner and I swear I thought we were going to blow right through the cones. But no, the car braked much better than I'd been able, then proceeded to carry more speed through the corner than mine could, and so on for the whole darn course. I know I outdrove her, but on those tires there was just no way in heck I could match the speed (she finished 0.7s ahead of me in raw time and still has the results hanging on her wall at work).
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Old 01-01-2005, 02:11 AM   #4
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YMMV but for heavy rain use the RE070 should be ok - I remember reading some Subaru literature on the Spec C about how they're "optimized for standing water" or something.
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Old 02-04-2005, 01:46 AM   #5
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What region are you running in?
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Old 02-04-2005, 04:29 AM   #6
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Since you've already decided on the Avons, Use them unless there's standing water. If you got them full tread depth, use them in the rain too. Once they wear down past the grooves, you'll have to use your 070s for the rain.

If you're consistantly up near the top with the street tires, you should be closer to first with the Avons. You shouldn't be any worse off running them over the 070s. There are better tires, but try those Avons and see how they work for you.

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Old 02-04-2005, 10:21 AM   #7
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Pretty much everyone who's posted is right on;
In the dry, use your R-compound of choice (Hoosiers if you can afford to replace 'em alla time, I run V700 Victos, at least until the V710 comes out in the "right size" ).
In the damp, or just a few light showers- continue to run your R-compounds.
In a monsoon- the RE070's absolutely rawwwk!! I only won 2 local events in 2004- but both were in heavy rain when I was on the RE070 stockers.

Have fun- and pray for rain!
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