1/10 Onroad Tyre Preparation for that winning edge!

Despite convincing ourselves that the latest chassis or top of the range electrics will power us to the front of the grid, the single mo...

Despite convincing ourselves that the latest chassis or top of the range electrics will power us to the front of the grid, the single most important thing that helps you go fast is getting the best results from your tyres.

The current touring car scene is thriving thanks to the current trend of preglued tyres.

Most events will only allow 1 specific pre-glued tyre, making racing much more affordable. No longer do you have to buy loads of different wheels/tyres/inserts only to find out that the sets you bought are wrong and you have to spend more money to have a shot at being competitive. You also eliminate a lot of dark secrets that the top drivers use that us mere mortals will never know about.

With one controlled set of pre-glued wheels everyone is on the same playing field, with only additive& heating being the main sources of better speed/grip

So with that in mind, you want to ensure you get the best out of your tyres. This is my method of preparing a new set of tyres before I put them on the track. If you ask 100 people, I suspect you would get 100 different answers of the ‘correct’ tyre prep method

Currently, the winter touring car season is officially indoors. In my local area (the South West of England) we currently use the Sorex carpet tyre. This guide will use the 32r tyre with the blue JB insert as an example

  1. Unwrapping& inspection

Familiarise yourself with the tyres you have purchased. You can see the part number marked on the card from manufacture. I would recommend keeping this card to one side for future reference. Check the tyres have been glued all the way around both beads. Add glue as necessary. Use a thin type superglue and use it sparingly so you do not affect the sidewall movement of the tyre.

  1. Tools required

It's all about preparation
Here you can see I have laid everything out for the task in hand. Here is a list of items:
  • Tyres
  • Permanent marker
  • Round file
  • Brillo pad
  • Kitchen towel
  • Lighter fluid
  • Scales
  • Tyre truer

  1. Spin that tyre!

Mount the wheel to the tyre truer. Although these aren’t the cheapest item in your pit box, they can easily identify a defective tyre or one that is heavily out of balance

When powered up, you will hear the tyre spin and make a sound. Mount all 4 tyres and listen for a significant difference in noise. If one sounds louder than the rest, it may be slightly out of balance. I always mount those to the rear of the car

  1. Remove the mould

A tyre is normally constructed in 2 parts. This is shown by the moulding line on the centre of the tyre. If you want maximum traction from the very start, this line will need to be removed. You may find some the imbalance will also go as a result

Use a round file to ensure that you get the most surface rubber on the track from the start
Spin the tyre on the truer and use a round file. 

I place the tip of the file approximately 10mm inward of the tyre on the table and gently tip it towards the tyre. You will now see a small pile of rubber being deposited. Use a LITTLE more force if required, not too much or you could score/ cut the tyre open. This step should not be rushed. File the tyre for approx 5 seconds at a time. Slide a thumb/finger over the tyre during rotation to feel if you have removed the ridge.

NOTE: Be careful to follow the direction of the rotation, you may injure yourself!

Use the Brillo pad afterwards to remove the rough filing and remove some the tyre shine. This will help bedding in on the track. You will see some high & low spots. This is fine and normal

Clean the excess off with lighter fluid on a piece of kitchen towel. Do not use Brake cleaner! The chemicals will remove the natural oils from the tyre and dry it out. Lighter fluid can be bought cheaply and is more petroleum based than brake cleaner

  1. Identification

A lot of tyres have very small markings to actually identify the tyre. To be fair, there isn’t a lot of space to do this effectively! I write the type of tyre on the inside of the wheel & the date I prepped the tyres. If you have many tyres, you will know when you started using them and will know which tyres are older

  1. A weight problem

This step may seem irrelevant to most people, but I have been surprised by the difference of weight between tyres which appear to look the same in the same packet

I got these small scales for about £5 from Ebay and proved to be very valuable. You can also fill your diff to the correct amount using these. If you buy 4, you can corner weigh your car!

Place the tyre on the scales a few times to gain an accurate reading. Mark your result on the inside of the wheel. If all 4 weigh the same, fit them to any axle you desire.

Top Tip: Fit the heaviest tyres on the rear of the vehicle. You want the heaviest tyres at the back to provide traction out of the corners

Mark the hub you will be fitting the tyre to (eg: LF is Left-hand Front on the vehicle).  Ideally you want to keep the tyre rotating the same way during its life of use. Although it is a slick tyre, it does make a difference. This is however only really beneficial if you have a few sets to use over the course of the race event, and is costly. So in the real world of club racing I alternate the left and right at the front and rear as the weight distribution is much more notable than the rub off the tyre.  

  1. Storage

Some tyre suppliers provide a resealable bag to store to your tyres when not in use. If not, a resealabe sandwich bag is an excellent alternative! Remove as much air as possible from the bag before you seal it (to prevent drying out)

Keep the tyres in a sealed bag to retain the oils in the rubber

  1. Breaking in

When you arrive at the track, mounts the tyres to the car, them remove any contaminates with lighter fluid on a towel. A small amount if sufficient. Apply your preferred additive and leave for a few minutes. Wipe off the excess, and then drive the car at ½ pace for 5 minutes. During this time you will feel the car start to settle the tyres into the track. Sorex tyres take a few runs before its 100% settled into the carpet; this 1st run just breaks the tyre in

Post race maintenance & storage

Clean the tyre and inside of the wheel using a soft brush. Check the wheel for cracks

Remember to check the sidewalls to see if the tyres have started to detach. This is common on the Sorex carpet tyre. Reglue as necessary

Once dry, store in the resealable bag for the next time you hit the track

Remember, The better you prepare and look after your tyres, they will perform better on the track!
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Post a Comment

  1. I'm curious to know what sort of file that is exactly? Looks to be a 150mm round file, but is it smooth, 2nd or bastard?

    Comparing how much rubber you are taking off to, say, Hara in the the image below, it seems like your cut is very minor.


  2. Hi there, thanks for your feedback
    The file I used would be about 2nd. It wasn't massively aggressive.
    The line on a Sorex tyre is not very big, not much is needed to be removed to get the tyre 'flat' . I would advise taking as much/little as you can depending on the tyres you use

    Hope this helps

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