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In November of 2012, I entered my modified C5 Corvette in the “Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational,” a multi-discipline driving event held the day after SEMA ends in Las Vegas. But looking new and gripping like new are two different propositions entirely.I could not have been less prepared for this event if I had left the car’s targa roof at home in the garage—which, by the way, I did. A tire, for those as unfamiliar with this concept as I was back then, does two things: it sticks to the road , and it disperses water using the tread pattern cut into the tire.Four corners later, it happens again, on the slowest corner of the entire track. My wheels looking like rock tumblers and my mint Torch Red paint now covered in a chalky fine layer of dust, I hang my head and limp back to the paddock. Now, I’m not saying I’m the greatest driver in the world and would have won the whole thing; far from it.I am saying that if I had bothered to actually do the proper maintenance on my car, I would have been able to set something resembling a lap time, instead of doing a piece of terrible performance art.The chemical compounds in your tires will degrade over time, significantly reducing your available grip, or worse, blowing out a sidewall under load.With sport tires, colder weather and harsh weather will exacerbate this.On a street tire, most people will notice their tread has worn down after several thousand miles of use and decide it’s time to get new tires.If it rains, the worn tread won’t disperse water as well and you will have poor wet-weather performance, as well as a tendency towards hydroplaning.
Most have prepped their cars specifically for this event, whereas I have pulled my car out of storage, driven it to Las Vegas without a roof, and parked.I had the pleasure of both their company on several occasions; though we weren’t close, both Roger and Paul were always a pleasure to be around, especially at the track, where they spent a lot of time.Both were excellent drivers and upstanding citizens.The red-over-black Carrera GT was the right color combo and had a famous owner in its history: Graham Rahal.
It also had only 3,500 miles on the odometer, making for a highly desirable example. Paul, as big of a gearhead as he was, had never been in a Carrera GT before.You have to go into the Grassroots Motorsports catalog, or to a very specific sub-genre to see a tire comparison test for your desired application, so most people just end up reading reviews on Tire Rack.