Tire Test Highlights Differences Between High-Performance Road And Race Rubber

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Finding the right tire for your car goes beyond just picking the correct size. Numerous manufacturers produce a variety of options with unique benefits and detriments. Not all tires are created equal, and a new video pits the recently launched Bridgestone Potenza Race tire against two other family members – the Potenza Sport and the Potenza RE-71RS.

The Potenza Sport is the mainstream tire in this test. It’s the one tire designed for most people and most driving situations, competing with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The Potenza Race is the sportier of the two, blending the experience of the Sport and the RE-71RS into one tire.

The Potenza Sport provided crisp and dynamic steering in the Honda Civic Si without much road noise. However, it felt sluggish compared to the Potenza Race tire during the test, according to reviewer Jonathan Benson.

Benson was initially disappointed in the Race tire, a Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rival, because it felt sluggish at speeds under 20 miles per hour but came alive at 30 mph and above. It was difficult for him to find anything about the tire to criticize because Bridgestone kept the noise, vibration, and harshness in check compared to the Potenza Sport without significantly sacrificing comfort.

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The European Union label backs this up, with the Race tire having a slightly lower decibel rating than the Sport. The Race tires are as comfy as the Sport, with a bit more stiffness when driving over harsher road imperfections.

According to Benson, the Potenza RE-71RS was lovely to drive but also the worst on the road. It’s a bit much for everyday driving, as Bridgestone designed the tire to maximize lap times even if it’s road-legal. 

The Potenza Sport isn’t the best tire for the track because it doesn’t like being pushed hard but it is usable. It’s quick to heat up, which leads to slower lap times and increased degradation. It took some time on the track before the Potenza Race tires heated up, but it delivered a pleasant driving experience. The RE-71RS was also quick to heat up and fast on the track. 

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