Tires & Shocks- You’d better believe it!

Last local event of the year, this past Sunday, I was on last year’s Dunlop Star Specs, as the Bridgestone RE71R’s were trash. I also swapped the Ohlins shocks (which need new top mounts) for last year’s Koni single-adjustables. Unf! It was tough sledding in the coldish morning.

Slaloming was awful. The front end didn’t have the fast transient response of before. It took until the 5th and last run before I could slow down, get the timing right and turn in early enough to not get late and hit cones. No trouble entering the slalom on time, it was the following cones that were the problem. By that 5th run I was doing the two slaloms as good as I had last year, but man, it was not the same as this year on the Ohlins. Sure, the tires were also different, but I never noticed much transient response difference when I switched from Star Specs to RE71Rs in the spring. It was going back to the Konis that really made the difference, even though I had the rebound damping set to max. In my humble opinion, you just can’t compete in Street without both a stiff front sway bar and shocks with lots of low-shaft-speed compression damping. Edit- At least not if you are driving the widest and longest-wheelbase car in the class that also has the highest polar moment of inertia, which is a measure of its resistance to rotate.

The second thing was how long I had to wait to put power down out of the corners. I definitely noticed myself waiting longer before I could hit the gas as compared to before, as well as having to be more gradual with the application of power. The RE71Rs multi-task like nobody’s business.

Thirdly, lateral grip was less. [Edit: the data shows the car developed a max of 1.0G in the sweeper that cold morning. 1.15G  was normal this year on that surface with warm RE71R tires.] The good Star Specs, I feel, were about equal in this regard to the worn-out RE71Rs that last time I ran them. I was lucky to salvage 4th of 10 in our very competitive BS class. First was taken by a National Champ from Nashville… second outing in his newly-acquired Corvette.



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