Autocross – Bridgestone RE71R 205/50-16 & 205/45-16 (2016-2018)
The “tires” to have to this day (2018), the RE71Rs provide a pretty amazing level of grip, at the expense of faster tire wear, despite being 200tw. That said, the tires stayed grippy all the way down, which was pretty amazing. These tires will be good all the way to near-bald, and last at least 100 runs in autox, if not much more. These tires seem not to like too much heat, ideal around 120 degrees or so, and requiring spraying for anything beyond that. They feel great overall, with tons of grip and sharpness.
Commuter – Continental TrueContact 185/65-15
Initial impressions of this tire are very good. Main purpose was to use as a daily cruiser and highway tire for trips. This will play especially key in next year, as the RE71Rs truly disintegrate it seems.
They are much narrower than what I’ve been running, so there is a lot less turning resistance and a lot less rolling resistance. They are also narrower than the 195/65-15 Continental PureContacts that I used to run. I think those tires were just a bit too wide and too tall for the Mini, and I didn’t really see much net gain out of running them. Hoping to see a little from these tires.
These tires are also the best rated standard touring all season tire on Tire Rack (1st of 22). Much higher rated than the General RT43s I used to run on the Corolla, which were also very good. There were some concerns (from others) about the T rating category on these tires. Truth be told, for my purposes that doesn’t matter at all. I will never need more grip than these tires provide on the street, as I have my own summer tires to switch to for actual racing. Grip in the wet has proved very good, and I’m really looking forward to how these tires do in the light snow!
Autocross – Dunlop ZII Star Spec 205/50-16 (Mini 09/2015-11/2015)
Swapped these tires from our NB Miata, as we were planning to sell the car anyway. Right away noticed that, even though the tire is the same 205, runs much wider (nearly an inch) compared to the 205/45-16 RS3s. Thanks to the Miata being kind on the tires, the flipped side had very little wear, with the wear triangles perfectly intact. I received the tires with 115 runs on them, but they still felt very meaty, very grippy. Compared to the 177 run RS3s, I picked up about 0.3-0.5s in raw time – though I can’t say I wouldn’t have picked that up on any tire, including new RS3s. These are just a cheap stopgap on the way to the RE71Rs. Nonetheless, really glad I put these on – allowed me to exercise the increase in driving ability that I had built on the worn out RS3s. Put about 2,500 miles & 152 Autox Runs on them.
Autocross – Hankook RS3V2 205/45-16 (Mini 09/2014-09/2015, 177 runs)
I enjoyed my RS3’s on the Evo, and like these very much as well. The tires were very grippy and handle heat well. They also seem to handle bigger slip angles much better than the Dunlops. They performed admirably while I had them, but really fell off after 140, 150 runs, as you could expect. Even then, the first two runs or so would feel pretty good on them, and then they would completely lose grip after that.
Autocross – Kumho Ecsta XS 215/45-16 (Mini 6/2014-08/2014, 30 runs)
These were purchased more as a stop-gap before I moved onto the Hankook RS3’s. Very impressed with these tires overall. The talk is that these tires required a lot of heat to be happy, which I found to be true. I kind of liked that about these tires, as opposed to the ZII’s. I can see how in the colder months of the year this tire wouldn’t be preferred without a co-driver. Hot level grip was among the best I’ve had, and I even ran them flipped what they were supposed to be.
Autocross – Dunlop ZII 205/50-16 (Mini 03/2014-07/2014, 158 runs)
I think this was the first tire that was available in the now mandatory 200tw, which is why I went with them. The grip was pretty decent overall, but these tires heat cycled out before the tread wore down (part of why I elected to get ZIIss for the NB Miata), and I ended up giving them away in June, after about 150 runs. By the last 30 or so runs, the tires had really fallen off of what they had used to be. In order for the tires to be grippy, they couldn’t be too hot, which involved spraying the tires down often and heat cycling them out. In general I’ll probably shy away from this brand if possible, just not my personal preference.