Road Tyres vs Track Tyres vs Slick Tyres

Racing slick tyres are used by some of the fastest cars in the world, but just how much faster is a slick tyre when compared to a track day tyre, or even a normal ultra high performance road tyre on a regular road car?

To find out, we're putting the ultra high performance Pirelli P Zero PZ4 road tyre against the the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track day tyre and two different types of Pirelli slick race tyres to find out exactly how much faster a slick tyre can be!

The test vehicle is a hot hatch Hyundai I30N. This isn't a race car, but that's not the point, can a FWD hot hatch with stock suspension settings really extract the most from a slick tyre, or will it be too much tyre for the car?

The two street legal tires are 245/40 R18, and the two slicks are 235/645-18 and 245/645-18. Watch the full video below for all the wonderful action around the Tazio Nuvolari circuit in northern Italy.

Results

1st: Pirelli Slick DHB

Pirelli Slick DHB
  • 245/40 R18
Test#Difference%
Dry Handling1st100%
This was a smaller jump from the Trofeo R than between the PZ4 and Trofeo R, but still a good increase of steering speed and lateral stiffness.

They took about the same time to warm up, but the rear was a little more flighty with oversteer until warm.

Once warm, they had seemingly endless grip, everything to Trofeo R was good at this was better. It was almost too much for the car, at one point I could barely push the brake hard enough to get the abs system to activate, probably the hardest I've been able to brake in a road car.

Zero heat deg across multiple hard laps.

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2nd: Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R

Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R
  • 245/40 R18
Test#Difference%
Dry Handling2nd+3.02 s96.81%
Compared to the PZ4, the comfort was significantly reduced and the steering is way heavier and quicker. The Pz4 good for a uhp tyre but this is amazing!

The second fast lap was seriously impressive. Tyres took longer to warm in, but once warm they were exceptional. The steering had amazing feel and turn in and I could adjust the line of the car way more freely. Most importantly corner exit was way faster thanks to improved traction. You could really drive the car instead of babysitting it.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience. If the road tyres were 7/10, these were 10/10.

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3rd: Pirelli P Zero PZ4

Pirelli P Zero PZ4
  • 245/40 R18
Test#Difference%
Dry Handling3rd+6.23 s93.64%
As a track tyre, the PZ4 is understeer primary. It has soft handling, but stable and predictable and it felt very safe and easy to drive fast. To get the most from the tyre you had to be delicate with the steering inputs and throttle as the tyre would break into slide quite early, generating heat.

Delayed reaction from the steering but it feels about right for a road tyre, as we've seen in other test is it's very similar to the Pilot Sport 4 S on track. It wouldn't be my first choice for a track tyre, but also it excels in the wet unlike the other tyres on test.

Felt like I was losing some time mid corner and lots on corner exit where you were having to be very delicate with the throttle.

The tyres managed around 3 laps before being past their best, which is normal for a road tyre.

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