Do I need different tires?
This is a tough one. Strictly from a budget point of view…nope. I run my Mustang and Vette with the street tires.
What not to do: (Read and heed)
At most tracks they have the water area where most cars with drag rubber will run through. It helps to get the tires spinning. Avoid that!!! On my very first run, I thought I’d be cool and do it like the big boys. Got the tires wet…..oh..they’ll spin alright..no problem…but hey aren’t soft enough to grip and well…lets just say it gets a little hairy and all I wanted was to just trying to get them to smoke a little..would have been fun. Well..what did happen was the Mustang started going sideways toward the concrete divider, mind you, I’m not even to the line yet, (and I’m think..”Hey honey..can you move your car so the tow truck and back in to the driveway).
So not only did they not smoke, they didn’t even get hot, just wet. Now take wet street tires and place them on 1/8 inch of rubber sticking to strip and…ta dah…you have a Mustang on ice…great!!! I recovered from that and got to the line. This was a charity race and I looked a cross concrete divider at this front wheel drive Ford Focus and I smiled…..but only for a second. The tree started and I popped the clutch and heard my bored out 302 engine rev and felt it go…. nowhere….the tires just spun…I see the Focus take off and I let up on the gas the Mustang took off, fishtailing…..I think I did two miles on the 1/4 mile strip, during that run. I did manage to get her up to 86 miles an hour that time but..I was at the end of the run and Focus has already turned off.
What to do:
Avoid the wetting down area. Your street tires will spin….trust me…on all that rubber the other cars have left for you. Warm you tires up only a little.
Now as an average guy..I only have a street car…just like it came off the show room floor, no trans-brake…nope… just a clutch and a gas pedal. So with a manual shift..and street tries you have to be careful taking off. I have out treed a few cars but you have to be light on the clutch. The tires will spin a little and you can limit that a bit with the clutch. A few feet out you will find more grip and 2nd and 3rd will be fine…um….I don’t have a 4th in the Mustang…so that’s pretty much it for me.
My next few passes went much better with my best being 93.43 mph with a 15.391 time. Now that’s pretty good with street tires and only 3 speeds. (Considering the first pass..documented above had a time of 17.54 at 78.98 mph.)
Coming up…tire options for the average guy..