What kind of tires do race cars use?

Updated: 9/27/2023
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14y ago

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There are many kinds of tires because there are many kinds of race cars and conditions. Nascar (Cup, Nationwide, Trucks) use Goodyear slicks that have many different compounds for different tracks and differing temperatures. One compound is used by all competitors which allegedly puts everyone on an equal footing, although some teams are more equal than others.

Drag racing vehicles (dragsters and funny cars) use big "wrinkle wall"slicks in the rear and skinny tires up front. Other classes are required to use street tires or "DOT slicks" which are street legal tires that come very close to slicks but still retain some sort of tread pattern.

Formula One cars use slicks for dry condition and grooved "rain tires" for (obviously) rainy conditions. This holds true for the "upper division" series like Indy cars, Le Mans and American Le Mans series as well as Grand Am in the States and touring car series in other parts of the world.

Dirt track cars use rear tires that are generally a blend of slicks and rain tires. They're generally very soft and wear quickly.

Land Speed Racing vehicles (Bonneville Salt Flats) use skinny tires to reduce rolling and wind resistance. Many classes use front tires made for dragsters. Other high speed classes use specially-constructed tires to withstand the forces applied to them at speeds over 300 mph (480 kph.)

Brands and manufacturers vary widely from one series to another. Goodyear, Firestone, Hankook, McCreary, Hoosier, Dunlop, Michelin and more make race tires, some of which are mandatory in a class and some series allow tire brand competition.

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14y ago

nitrogen... it has less moisture content than compressed air which gives you a more stable and predictable pressure increase as the tire heats up.

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Q: What kind of tires do race cars use?
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