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      12-30-2016, 06:19 PM   #1
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Best tire sizes for track wheels

There are lots of threads about optimal offsets, how much wheel/tire can be fit, etc... but this is a slightly different question.

Tire manufacturers provide an "ideal" or "measuring" wheel width for each tire size, and it seems reasonable to assume that the wheel width/tire size that matches the "ideal" would be the best choice... and for regular street driving, it most likely would be. But for maximum grip on track (assuming a fixed wheel width) would it actually be better to run a tire that's slightly narrower to stretch it a bit? A tire size for which the manufacturer indicates an "ideal" wheel that's 1/2" (or even 1") narrower?

Here's an example of what I'm contemplating...

On my car, I know that a 9.5" wheel is at the outer limits of what I can squeeze under the front fender, so I'm trying to figure out what would be best for a track-only wheel/tire setup - the options being:
  1. 275/35-18 -- typically listed with a 9.5" ideal/measuring wheel, but I feel like this tire is a bit wide for a 9.5" wheel for track use
  2. 265/35-18 -- also listed with a 9.5" ideal wheel, and this size seems like it's in the sweet spot
  3. 255/35-18 or 255/40-18 -- typically listed with a 9" ideal wheel (although the ranges extend up to 10")... so even with a little less "tread width" I'm wondering if this tire size would perform better than the 265/35

For the best track performance on a 9.5" wheel, which tire size would you choose?
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      12-30-2016, 06:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
There are lots of threads about optimal offsets, how much wheel/tire can be fit, etc... but this is a slightly different question.

Tire manufacturers provide an "ideal" or "measuring" wheel width for each tire size, and it seems reasonable to assume that the wheel width/tire size that matches the "ideal" would be the best choice... and for regular street driving, it most likely would be. But for maximum grip on track (assuming a fixed wheel width) would it actually be better to run a tire that's slightly narrower to stretch it a bit? A tire size for which the manufacturer indicates an "ideal" wheel that's 1/2" (or even 1") narrower?

Here's an example of what I'm contemplating...

On my car, I know that a 9.5" wheel is at the outer limits of what I can squeeze under the front fender, so I'm trying to figure out what would be best for a track-only wheel/tire setup - the options being:
275/35-18 -- typically listed with a 9.5" ideal/measuring wheel, but I feel like this tire is a bit wide for a 9.5" wheel for track use
265/35-18 -- also listed with a 9.5" ideal wheel, and this size seems like it's in the sweet spot
255/35-18 or 255/40-18 -- typically listed with a 9" ideal wheel (although the ranges extend up to 10")... so even with a little less "tread width" I wondering if this tire size would perform better than the 265/35

For the best track performance on a 9.5" wheel, which tire size would you choose?
You probably have more experience than me.

I've settled on 18x8.5 square with 255/40/18 MPSS tires. I figure the most I would do is run RE-71R on the track in that size and if that's not enough, I just need better skills and/or better car.
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      12-30-2016, 07:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
You probably have more experience than me.

I've settled on 18x8.5 square with 255/40/18 MPSS tires. I figure the most I would do is run RE-71R on the track in that size and if that's not enough, I just need better skills and/or better car.
255/40 tires on 8.5" wheels is certainly within the acceptable range (my OEM 8.5" rear wheels came with 255/40 Conti SSR tires); the wheel range for 255s is typically 8.5-10" (with 9" being "ideal"). But being that an 8.5" wheel is the minimum in the range (and narrower than "ideal"), my feeling is that they actually may not perform as well on track as 245s - or even possibly 235s.

This is exactly what I'm trying to get some insight on... where the point of diminishing returns is on going with wider tires on a given wheel width.
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      02-17-2017, 06:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
255/40 tires on 8.5" wheels is certainly within the acceptable range (my OEM 8.5" rear wheels came with 255/40 Conti SSR tires); the wheel range for 255s is typically 8.5-10" (with 9" being "ideal"). But being that an 8.5" wheel is the minimum in the range (and narrower than "ideal"), my feeling is that they actually may not perform as well on track as 245s - or even possibly 235s.

This is exactly what I'm trying to get some insight on... where the point of diminishing returns is on going with wider tires on a given wheel width.
Any idea if a 275 width tire can even clear on the front end?
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      02-25-2017, 11:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
Any idea if a 275 width tire can even clear on the front end?
Yes, they can fit - I know of a couple forum members who've done it. (Of course you need ample camber, and offsets need to be just right.) But a 9.5" wheel is the most we can comfortably fit without fender rolling or extreme camber, so in most cases a 265 tire is a better choice on a 9.5" wheel. (Many 275 tires on a 9.5" wheel can tend to feel a little sloppy.)
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      02-26-2017, 06:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
Yes, they can fit - I know of a couple forum members who've done it. (Of course you need ample camber, and offsets need to be just right.) But a 9.5" wheel is the most we can comfortably fit without fender rolling or extreme camber, so in most cases a 265 tire is a better choice on a 9.5" wheel. (Many 275 tires on a 9.5" wheel can tend to feel a little sloppy.)
So when you say "ample" camber, are you saying optimal camber (for handling) or enough camber for "stance"?
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      02-26-2017, 03:41 PM   #7
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You have rolling resistance and proper 'alignment' to consider. Am sure others here may know the optimum setting for your car at a given track, since each track could need a slightly different setup. Dry and wet setups can also vary of course. Do you have a pyrometer, as after a nice 15 minutes of running them 'hot' you could check the tires and see the temps across the contact area and adjust accordingly. Camber plates are nice to have if you plan to track often. i assume you're going to have extra set(s) of rims with one having R-compound/slicks, a set for intermediate/rain, and perhaps street tires.
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      02-27-2017, 09:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
So when you say "ample" camber, are you saying optimal camber (for handling) or enough camber for "stance"?
By ample, I mean enough to create adequate space between the strut and fender. How much camber that is will vary a bit from car to car, but I'd expect at least -2.5, so you'd need camber plates.
Optimal handling depends on the circumstances... for track use, -2.5 or more is a must for front end grip (and mitigating outside shoulder tire wear), but on the road, could lead to inside shoulder wear over time.
I have no input on (or interest in) 'stance', so for me the discussion begins and ends with grip.
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      03-15-2017, 09:28 PM   #9
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So did anyone put 265/35/18 in front? and if you did anyone got pictures?

I'm deciding between 255 or 265 for up front
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      03-16-2017, 08:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Wwaldo View Post
So did anyone put 265/35/18 in front? and if you did anyone got pictures?

I'm deciding between 255 or 265 for up front
I will be going with a 265 on a 9.5" wheel in May, so I can share pics once I get them installed.

What size wheel are you planning to mount them on?
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      03-16-2017, 10:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
I will be going with a 265 on a 9.5" wheel in May, so I can share pics once I get them installed.

What size wheel are you planning to mount them on?
I got a 9.5+35 yourself?
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      03-19-2017, 12:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wwaldo View Post
I got a 9.5+35 yourself?
Same...I got in on the Apex ARC-8 group buy...$200 off plus free shipping was too good to pass up.

I went for the new matte bronze finish...hope it looks as good on the car in person as it does in my imagination.
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      03-20-2017, 01:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
Same...I got in on the Apex ARC-8 group buy...$200 off plus free shipping was too good to pass up.

I went for the new matte bronze finish...hope it looks as good on the car in person as it does in my imagination.
Just picked up some 265-35-18 on the new nexens Sur4
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      03-25-2017, 12:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
Same...I got in on the Apex ARC-8 group buy...$200 off plus free shipping was too good to pass up.

I went for the new matte bronze finish...hope it looks as good on the car in person as it does in my imagination.
You'll need a 8MM spacer in front ... I managed with a 5MM but 8MM would be much safer.
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      03-25-2017, 01:42 PM   #15
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      03-28-2017, 09:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwaldo View Post
Love the bad ass matte "Montreal Gray" paint work... : )


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwaldo View Post
You'll need a 8MM spacer in front ... I managed with a 5MM but 8MM would be much safer.
I was thinking 3mm should do it... that's what I've been running with my 9" ET42 ARC-8s. Last time I checked, I had about 5mm of clearance from the tire to the strut, which has never rubbed as far as I can tell.

Factoring in the extra ~13mm of width for a 9.5" wheel (6.5mm of which is on the inside) - but with the reduced ET35 offset, it should actually yield about 0.5mm more clearance than my current wheels. That said, every tire is different, so there's only one way to find out!

Speaking of 5mm spacers, I actually tried those on the front for a while, and noticed some vibration. I determined that 3mm is the max for me before I run short on hub centering lip real estate... maybe xDrive cars have more lip on the front hub? There's more on my rear hubs, so maybe BMW specs more for drive wheels...
[I created a thread a while back to share some experiences with spacers]
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      04-01-2017, 10:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC View Post
Love the bad ass matte "Montreal Gray" paint work... : )



I was thinking 3mm should do it... that's what I've been running with my 9" ET42 ARC-8s. Last time I checked, I had about 5mm of clearance from the tire to the strut, which has never rubbed as far as I can tell.

Factoring in the extra ~13mm of width for a 9.5" wheel (6.5mm of which is on the inside) - but with the reduced ET35 offset, it should actually yield about 0.5mm more clearance than my current wheels. That said, every tire is different, so there's only one way to find out!

Speaking of 5mm spacers, I actually tried those on the front for a while, and noticed some vibration. I determined that 3mm is the max for me before I run short on hub centering lip real estate... maybe xDrive cars have more lip on the front hub? There's more on my rear hubs, so maybe BMW specs more for drive wheels...
[I created a thread a while back to share some experiences with spacers]

Didn't have a chance to wash her ahahaha all the cars look matte.
It is for sure my tires since I went with some beefy ones. My wheels do clear its the tires that rub. I'm thinking of doing a 10MM in front but I feel like it would throw off the driveability. I might consider downsizing the front ones to 255
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      03-31-2019, 09:05 AM   #18
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Bumping a really old thread here but curious what tire/wheel setup people are running on their F30 (square vs. staggered, tire and wheel width F/R and suspension). Also what's the benefit to a square wheel setup vs. staggered? I have KW Clubsport coilovers which do have camber plates. Appreciate the insight.
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      04-15-2019, 06:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EstorilMSport View Post
Bumping a really old thread here but curious what tire/wheel setup people are running on their F30 (square vs. staggered, tire and wheel width F/R and suspension). Also what's the benefit to a square wheel setup vs. staggered? I have KW Clubsport coilovers which do have camber plates. Appreciate the insight.
Square setup= closer to neutral handling, as the wider rears on a staggered setup induce even MORE understeer as they have a larger contact patch overall.

Another huge advantage of running a square setup is being able to do front to back tire rotations (unidirectional treads) or a proper X tire rotation (Asymmetrical, non directional) to double tire life essentially.
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      04-24-2019, 05:20 PM   #20
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Why does it seem like nobody tracks with 19" wheels? (403m oems)
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      04-24-2019, 05:39 PM   #21
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Why does it seem like nobody tracks with 19" wheels? (403m oems)
403m's are absurdly heavy.
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      04-24-2019, 11:05 PM   #22
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403m's are absurdly heavy.
Yea, that is true...but why do people tend to track with 18" rims instead of 19" rims, even for aftermarkets?

What's a good bang for the buck brand aftermarket 18" square setup that would be lighter? Those Apex seem awesome but $$....
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