Writing about the Nankang AR 1
Driving on track
for 1000 spirited
I drove the tire in 205/45/16 front and 235/40/17 rear on a Lotus Elise with around 250 hp.
The tire was bought purely for track use, I can not comment on street behaviour.
I drive sessioned events with session between 30 and 45 min driving, 45 min break, session, break etc. In my experience this can be quite demanding for a tire as they can not fully cool down in between and some tires tend to overheat at the end of the day.
On a roadcourse I found this tire to have a relatively short warm up time, even though some people commented otherwise. Normally the tire reached operating temperatures within a few laps and cold grip is as bad as one would expect, which means limited. However, this tire is really good in taking the punishment for the whole day without any overheating issues. It is the first tire that I have in this price range, that last a whole day.
I found the tire to be quite sensitive to pressure changes. The behaviour of the tire can completely change within 0.1 bar pressure. When underinflated the grip is not so much the problem as is very numb feedback about grip levels and heavily decreased steering information. I settled at 1.8 bar front and 2.0 bar rear when hot but I feel this might not be the last conclusion.
When the tire is warm, on right pressure and the road is dry the tire becomes more communicative and provides the high level of grip that one expects from a semi slick. However, this grip in my hands is not so easy to fully exploit, as the communication is so much lower than on a good road tire. For example, the tire was only 2 sec faster than a Yokohama AD 08R on Bilster Berg in my hands. I assume that there is more to have but again, it is not so easy to find the limits in a save way for a hobby driver like me.
When humid the tire is surprisingly good for a semi slick but once it is wet the tire is surpassed by a sporty road tire due to the lack of negative profile. Also, I had a few nasty surprises with the rear coming out quite spontaneous in the wet but at the end of the day this is clearly not a street tire.
No overheating even after long sessions of aggressive driving style
High grip for the price
Not the most communicative
Sensitive to tyre pressure changes