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TOP 5 Best: Summer Maximum Performance & Autocross Tires ~ 2016

If shredding the pavement gnar gets your blood pumping then any of these 5 candidates will arm you with the critical component for realizing your vehicles capabilities and will not disappoint.  Our TOP 5 Summer Maximum Performance & Autocross Tires List for 2016 highlights the top performing tires that'll give you unprecedented traction as you pursue ever-faster lap times and overpowering adrenaline rushes in autocross/track environments.

What is autocross?  Autocross is a safe, competitive engagement providing a dedicated, controlled environment for drivers to push their car & driving talents to the edge.  Autocross events are typically timed and either performed on a pre-constructed track or a course set up using cones and/or barriers.  Max performance summer / autocross tires are not considered "competition" tires as they are all DOT approved and usually have UTQG ratings around 200 which is the typical standard requirement for Autocross events.  Our list does not take treadwear into account; only performance and ride.

** Extreme Performance Summer tires are not intended to be serviced, stored nor driven in near or below-freezing temperatures or through snow or on ice.
** A tire's performance/expereince will vary from one vehicle to the next. The lists highligh the best performing tires based on driver satisfaction, retailer feedback & Tire Sniffer experience.
** Like any top performer list there is room for discussion. Start with our lists and sort as you see fit.

1.  Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

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Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

PROS:  Best dry traction of the list | Steering response | Perform well when heated

The Bad-Ass award goes to the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 delivering racing enthusiasts with the answer they need to cross the checkered flag in front of it's competition by conducting a symphony of idiosyncratic abilities allowing drivers to push their cars to the max & beyond.  As the only asymmetrical tread patterned tire on our list, it's able to tackle a wider range of conditions than most.  Function also follows form as the tire inherently distributes stress evenly by keeping the inner and outer sidewalls from collapsing in or out through cornering.  Bridgestone now shares its GP2 and F1 racing tires 3-D Seamless Stealth Technology with the Potenza RE-11 with stealth blocks bracing the tire while dismissing water with authority.  Circumferential grooves cleanse the inner sanctum of tire by channeling water away from the contact patch.  She's a tire to marvel... and shred the gnar with!

~ No warranty


2.  Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec

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Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec

PROS:  Excellent dry grip | Treadwear | Responsiveness
CONS:  Wet traction could see improvement | Road noise

With the same tread design and top-tier performance as it's predecessor, Direzza ZII, the Star Spec is given a harder topping compound for better responsiveness and traction over a wider temperature range including when the tire is cold before warming up.  These types of tires get hammered yet the Star Spec handles the beating best as it has truly mastered the ability to distribute stress evenly over the contact patch through its hyper rigid asymmetrical tread design.  Dunlop combats the tires natural tendency to warp at high speeds with their Jointless Band Technology that coils fabric around the 2 steel belts holding the tires shape true.

The Star Spec acts as a medium between the road and the driver by channeling their interactions through Dunlop's True Circle Profile technology which carries the shifting load forces of the tire (aka deflection) through its sidewalls transmitting true feedback between driver and the road.  Water evacuation is managed by the two centered circumferential grooves while outside separate slanting grooves migrate water to the shoulder.  A practically matchless, glorious performing tire.

~ No warranty


3.  Hankook Ventus R-S3 V2

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Hankook ~ Ventus R-S3 (Version 2)

PROS:  Excellent grip | Mid-grade price point
CONS:  Rounded shoulders make it look narrow | Slightly less responsive than Star Spec

The Version 2 is the 2014 production (DOT ending in 14) updated Ventus R-S3 (z222).  With an updated tread compound to deliver even more unprecedented performance from an already massive value product, the Racing Carbonblack Silica Compound accelerates the time till optimum operating grip performance is reached.  It carries a 200 UTQG.  A wide center rib keeps persistent contact with the road with massive shoulder blocks enhancing stabilization in aggressive cornering and high speeds.  Wet conditions are addressed with, categorically consistent, dual circumferential grooves proven to handle water management within the center of the tire.  With almost similar responsiveness to the #2 Star Spec, the Ventus R-S3 V2 delivers top tier performance at an insane value which is a huge factor in it's #3 placement.

~ No warranty
** Avoid confusion between the regular R-S3 and the Version 2 by identifying the production date (DOT ending in 14).  No sidewall branding distinguishes between the two.


4.  Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R

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Yokohama ~ ADVAN Neova AD08 R

PROS:  Performs well when heated
CONS:  Wet traction could be better

A savage in dry conditions, the Neova AD08 R thrives in parched road conditions urging drivers to just try and beat it senseless - because it'll probably out perform you and the driving skills of the most proficient drivers.  Its claim to fame is heat control and its ability to effectively fend off treadwear associated with ultra aggressive driving.  The updated MS Compound 2R augments grip with increased carbon and silica for more dry & wet grip respectively with Yokohama's Orange Oil technology venturing into new realms of improving rubber flexibility translating into more traction.  Its unique tread pattern features ordered regiments of round grooves dispersing stress across huge unbroken tread sections like the 2 circumferential center ribs and the continuous UNI-block shoulders.  Steel inserts bolster the sidewalls combating lateral deflection.  Drivers of the original AD08 experienced squeal on the track while the new AD 08 "R" (revolution) is more advanced with diminished squeal.  In so many ways, the ADVAN Neova AD08R is a #1 tire.

~ No warranty


5.  Nitto NT-05

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Nitto ~ NT05

PROS:  Low cost price point | Excellent dry traction when heated

Nitto went all out designing their max performance tire with diligent applications of computer simulation and real world track testing committed to providing track drivers with an ultimate performing, precision handling track tire at a best in class price point.  While sometimes marketed as a "street tire" it's every bit of track star.  The performance of street tires falls off at high speeds while race/track tires thrive and perform best when hot and the NT-05 loves to warm up.  A massive unbroken center rib and fortified tread blocks dish out heaps of firm stability for undoubted cornering capabilities.  Nitto applies a specifically developed compound and an enriched internal structure for the NT-05 with all the characteristics of autocross in mind.  If drag racing is on the table, Nitto's NT-05R can be advantageously paired and placed on the rear axle.  Performance and value has been served and we love the way the NT-05 tastes!

~ No warranty

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