Track tires are a necessity on high-performance vehicles, especially for high-speed runs and drag races.
The best DOT-approved performance track tires are the BFGoodrich G-Force Rival, the Mickey Thompson ET Street R, the all-season BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2, the Toyo Tires Proxes R888R, and the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2.
In this article, we’ll go over five of the best high-speed performance track tires. Additionally, we’ll go over the qualities that give these tires superior racing performance. We’ll cover the pros and cons of track tires, along with why they’re essential for high-speed driving.
To ensure accuracy, we sourced all of the tire technical specifications directly from the manufacturers or distributors.
How are Track Tires Different?
Track tires are generally wider and much more ‘slick’ than street tires. They’re incomparable to off-road tires and designed specifically for grip on even asphalt surfaces. Track tires were once known as ‘racing slicks’ due to their notable lack of tread and voids.
Track tires also lack side tread, as they never encounter terrain that would require sharp corners to dig into anything. Instead, they flex and increase their road contact, which helps prevent spinning under load.
Also, track tires are made with tougher rubber compounds that are designed for extremely high speeds. Other tires, such as mud terrains, can’t withstand anywhere near the speeds at which track tires are designed to operate safely.
Benefits of Track Tires
Track tires aren’t just better for racing—they’re a necessity. These tires allow high-horsepower vehicles to gain and keep the traction they need on the race track and improve the power distribution of the car.
The wide stance of track tires helps them grip when ordinary narrow tires would simply spin. Additionally, their soft sidewalls increase performance and traction, especially under heavy acceleration. These benefits make track tires the best choice for racing.
Drawbacks of Track Tires
Track tires are notorious for poor wet weather performance, and they’re just about useless on snow and ice. This is because their high-traction mild tread is prone to hydroplane and generally doesn’t have any way to shed water.
Track tires are sometimes a poor choice for street driving, as they’re not designed for use on rough roads. Additionally, they can be adversely affected by high heat and cold temperatures. They get too hard in cold temperatures and lose their grip in adverse weather conditions.
Best Tires for the Track and Racing
We scoured the market to find the highest-quality and best-rated track tires on the market. These tires are for performance cars, drag racers, hot rods, and virtually any high-powered vehicle that’s used primarily on the racetrack. Here are our top picks.
1. BFGoodrich G-Force Rival Track Tires
Not all of the best track tires are completely slick. Our top pick is the BFGoodrich G-Force Rival, which is a top-quality track tire for track and road performance. This is an ‘extreme performance’ summer tire, which was designed specifically for performance cars.
The tread pattern of the BFGoodrich G-Force Rival is mostly slick, but it has two notable void bands and some mild spacing between the tread surfaces. These traits set it apart from track-only tires, as they make the tire a bit safer to use in light summer rains.
The BFGoodrich G-Force Rival uses silica-infused rubber for enhanced grip and a soft but durable sidewall for road contact flex. These semi-slick tires offer fantastic cornering and enhanced grip under heavy acceleration.
BFGoodrich utilized their ETE (Extreme Tread Edge) design to bring the tread further down the sidewall, which gives the tire better road contact under heavy load. Additionally, the radial BFGoodrich G-Force Rival tire utilizes twin steel belts instead of the traditional single belt.
BFGoodrich G-Force Rival tires are available from Tire Rack for between $162.64 and $313.65 per tire.
BFGoodrich G-Force Rival tires are a good medium between track and street. They’re ideal for car show vehicles and weekend racers who spend most of their time on the track (but occasionally drive around the town).
2. Mickey Thompson ET Street R Track Tires
How close to a true drag slick can you legally use on the road? According to the DOT, the Mickey Thompson ET Street R is about as close as you can get. These DOT-approved near-slick tires offer drag slick performance on the street, and they’re legal to use on your daily driver.
Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires have basically no tread texture to speak of. They provide some of the best racing traction on the market, and they’re designed from Mickey Thompson’s famous drag racing slicks.
It’s important to remember that these tires are racing tires and all that implies. They’re absolutely not suitable for cold weather, snow, or ice, but they provide exceptional acceleration and high-speed performance when the conditions are favorable.
Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires have very light indentations running along the length of the tire. Some are patterned around the edges, while the center has two light channels that run around the circumference of the tire.
The design of the Mickey Thompson ET Street R tread surface provides almost all of the high-traction benefits of racing slicks but adds a level of protection against real road conditions. Plus, they’re tubeless—which means you never have to deal with inner tubes.
You can buy a set of Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires from Discount Tire for between $202.00 and $395.00 each.
Mickey Thompson ET Street R tires are street-legal drag tires and the closest thing to professional racing tires that you can legally use on the road.
3. BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 A/S Track Tires
What about a solid track tire that’s also good for daily driving? The BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 A/S fits the bill, as it’s one of the only all-season track tires that retains many of the benefits of wide drag slicks.
These tires provide exceptional high-speed performance in most weather conditions. And unlike both of the tires mentioned above, BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 tires can be used in light snow (but don’t rely on them for true winter driving conditions).
So, what benefits do BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 tires offer on the race track? Instead of using large voids and dramatic tread, the BFGoodrich G-Force tire uses small voids and wide tread. This increases road contact and provides excellent traction.
Additionally, these tires can achieve very high speeds. BFG’s UltiGrip tread wraps around the sidewall, which helps the tire grip confidently under hard acceleration and braking. Additionally, the sidewalls and rubber composition are designed to deliver good cornering performance under varying weather conditions.
They aren’t quite as hard as to drag slicks, but the compromise is worth it for safe performance on your daily driver. These tires are ideal for use on modern sports cars and weekend racers, especially if you drive to the track.
You can get a set of BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 all-season tires from Discount Tire for between $102.00 and $203.00 per tire.
BFGoodrich G-Force Comp 2 A/S tires are ideal for high-performance daily drivers, especially in areas that get occasional snowfall and heavy rain.
4. Toyo Tires Proxes R888R Track Tires
High-performance racing tires don’t always look the same, and the rather unusual Toyo Tires Proxes R888R is an excellent example. Toyo Proxes R888R tires are some of the best drag tires you can run on the street, and they perform exceptionally well on the track.
Fundamentally, the Toyo Proxes R888R is a race tire with street capabilities. That means it works on the road but really shines on the track. It has a wide stance and an inverted sidewall, which means there’s even more tread available on given wheel size.
The jagged lines cut into the tread serve a purpose. The widely-spaced voids allow the DOT to approve the tire for street use, but the large tracts of rubber between the gaps preserve its racing utility. These tires are used for high-temp environments, as their ideal operating temperatures range from 160 to 220-degrees.
Lateral grip is where Toyo Proxes tires shine. This is specifically due to Toyo’s R-compound rubber composition, which is designed specifically for extreme grip on dry pavement. But these tires also feature a channel for water evacuation, so they’re safe to use in light rains.
You can purchase a set of Toyo Proxes R888R tires from Discount Tire for between $138.00 and $545.00 each, depending on the sizes you need.
Toyo Proxes R888R tires are ideal for vehicles that are frequently used for racing and for cruising, and they’re best when track performance is of the utmost importance.
5. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 Track Tires
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 are fantastic performance tires and some of the best run-flat track tires on the market. These tires are top-rated for performance on the road and track and are designed to run flat for limited distances. This is unusual for track tires which usually have softer sidewalls.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are built for comfort and speed. These tires are made with a specially-designed Bi-Compound rubber that flexes under heavy acceleration and absorbs much of the unpleasant bumps on the road. All this comes with superior responsiveness and cornering.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are Y-rated for very high speeds. According to the company, that means they’re good up to 186 miles per hour, which many modern performance cars can achieve on the race track.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires have asymmetrical channels along the inside to help shed water on rainy days, but they’re not designed for winter use. The tread along the edges is mild to increase racing performance but aggressive enough for good grip on variable road surfaces.
Like other Michelin tires, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 comes with Variable Contact Patch 3.0 technology. This allows the tire to mold to road surfaces under stress, such as during tight turns when high traction is paramount.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are available on Discount Tire for between $288.00 and $645.00 each.
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are high-end road and track tires with a high-speed rating and great longevity. This makes them ideal for high-performance daily drivers in warm and dry climates.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding