The German publication Auto Bild have just tested five 235/35 R19 track day tyres using a Ford Focus ST, and included a "normal" maximum performance road tyre as comparison.
Given the location of the test (Continentals proving grounds in Texas), and the performance of the included road tyre, we're going to assuming the tyre was the Continental Sport Contact 6, and it demonstrates just how good road tyres have become!
In the dry testing, the Pirelli shines. It is the fastest in the dry lap, just beating the Michelin to the top spot. The summer road-tyre would have placed fourth overall, averaging 117.1 Km/H, which is faster than both the Yokohama and Toyo track day tyres!
Again, the Pirelli just beats the Michelin to the top spot during the dry braking test, but this time the Toyo matches the Michelin for second place. Again, surprisingly the summer road-tyre places fourth, at 35.4 meters.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the test is the Pirelli in wet handling, winning the test and beating the road-bias summer tyre which lapped at an average of 78.2 Km/H. The Michelin and Dunlop were close behind, with the Yokohama and particularly the Toyo struggling.
During wet braking, the summer tyre dominated, stopping the Ford Focus ST in just 31.5 meters, where the best track day tyre could only manage 34 meters. Again the Yokohama and Toyo struggled.
The summer tyre again showed its wet weather advantage, winning the aquaplaning testing, managing 71.5 Km/H before the car started floating. This time the Michelin track day tyre surprised, almost matching the summer tyre and with a huge gap to the second placed Dunlop. Aquaplaning is where the Pirelli tyre struggled, and lost a lot of points.
It's a shame the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R struggled in the aquaplaning tests, as looking at the other tests it just beat the Michelin as the best track day tyre on test. The real surprise is how well the summer tyre did in the dry, but it's worth mentioning the testers said the summer tyre felt soft and slow to steer when comparing against the best track day tyres, and there's no way the road-bias summer tyre would manage as long on track as the track day tyres without overheating.
In short, the Michelin is the best tyre if you're spending some time on the road too, but if you want the pure dry-track experience, go with the Pirelli. Or a slick.
The track day tyre without fault. Accurate steering, balanced driving dynamics and high grip levels in the wet and dry. Excellent aquaplaning performance and good comfort (for a track tyre) means this tyre justifies the price.
Read Reviews Buy from £227.13
A well balanced tyre with excellent steering behaviour and good feedback. Good safety reserves in the aquaplaning tests.
Average grip levels in the wet.
A very sporty tyre with excellent fast lap times in the dry and wet. Good steering precision, especially in the dry. Short braking distances in the dry and wet.
Weak aquaplaning result which marked down the overall result. Most expensive tyre on test.
Well balanced in the wet making the car easy to drive.
Slow steering in the dry, long wet braking distances.
5th: Toyo R888 R
Short dry braking, low price.
Slowest during the dry and wet handling laps, longest wet braking, weakest aquaplaning result. Very noisy.