Mark Andy- Putting Up
Anyone even tangentially involved with autocross already knows all the arguments relating to 'street tires' in Stock. The naysayers say that the cars won't be as fun to drive, that tire cost might not actually go down, that eventually 'street tires' will follow the same mold as the DOT-R tires we currently have in stock, etc. The proponents say that the cars are still a hoot to autocross, that we've been using 'street tires' in the ST category successfully for ~10 years, that very expensive and completely unstreetable A6's being the de facto requirement for Stock is insane, etc. I'm on the proponent side. A6's for my car cost about $30/run, and I find that increasingly unacceptable. I will not run a car on DOT-R tires in 2013. I've had enough.
But that's not why I'm writing this article. I'm not going to convince the naysayers and the proponents already agree with me. Instead, I'm writing this to tell you why, after skipping Nationals for the last couple years, I'm coming back in 2012. The short version is that it's time to Put Up.
I drive a c5 z06 in SuperStock. Stock tire sizes are 265/40-17 front, 295/35-18 rear. On A6's we run 295/35-17 & 315/30-18. Unfortunately, lots of the hot ST tires just aren't made in sizes I can use. In particular, there's no Toyo R1R, there's no Hankook R-S3, there's no Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec, etc. I'm not totally out of options though... The Continental ExtremeContact DW is made in my sizes, as is the Kumho Ecsta XS. I've got a set of each already. The Kumhos came with the car when I bought it, and I'd already bought a set of the Contis to use as rains.
So here's the next problem. The supplemental Road Tire classes are indexed classes. And those indexes were developed using A6's, not street tires. There aren't too many folks that would tell you the car to have for Road Tire RWD is a fairly heavy, fairly powerful car running on an SS index. Most everyone thinks it's going to be something a lot lighter and with a lot nicer index. Some flavor of Miata is a common choice. Particularly if it can run the 195 Toyo that has the good compound all the way down to the cords. Will that be an insurmountable disadvantage? Who knows.
But there are still more problems. See, I wasn't planning on going to Nationals this year. It's not at the greatest time of the year for us, since my wife is a professor and my son will be starting kindergarten. I'm also going to be trying to get my club racing license, I help run our local region's Solo program (SCRsolo.com!), it's four days of vacation I haven't accounted for, etc. You know... Life.
So with all those problems, why am I going to Nationals this year? Simple. It's time to Put Up (most would say that's my only choice, since I'm sure not going to Shut Up). It's not about whether I can run the absolute latest hot tire, whether my car is at a disadvantage on the index, or even whether it's particularly convenient for me to go to Nationals this year. The SEB has finally listened. FINALLY. They're offering these supplemental Road Tire classes as a trial balloon to gauge demand. They've built it and by damn, I'm going to come.
I hope you other street tire proponents out there do the same. This is about making a statement and standing up to be counted. Nobody wants to hear your excuses, valid or not. We all have them. This is the chance for the street tires in Stock proponents to go from 'internet whiner' to 'nationals competitor'. If we don't collectively seize this moment, then we have no right to bitch. I don't know about you, but I don't want to prove all those naysayers right by not getting it done.
It's time to Put Up or Shut Up. I'm going to Put Up. What are you going to do?