It’s been a busy few weeks with shows and deadlines and stuff lately, so upgrades have been pushed to the back of my mind recently. That’s not to say the RS hasn’t been keeping me busy – failing its MoT and the insurance expiring last month, and then trying to raise funds to pay off the balloon payment on the finance this month has kept me busy enough.
Now that the RS is officially mine, I’m sure I’ll have a load more plans for it (as soon as I can replenish the piggy bank a little!) but heading to Ford Fair I was chuffed to bits with how it looks and performs. All was ticking over nicely, until that sudden downpour on the way home from the show. The sudden deluge did start my heart racing a little given that I was running on track-day R888R tyres. That got me thinking; now that I’ve got no fear over the finance stuff, and given that my new insurance with Greenlight also allows me to add track day cover, maybe I should start to take the RS on track a bit more frequently? And as such, maybe I should get the R888Rs off, save them for track use, and fit a new set of tyres for road use – a set that won’t cause my nerves to jangle every time it rains.
To be fair, the R888Rs have been brilliant in the wet – much better than I would have ever expected. I knew they would be phenomenal in the dry, especially when warmed up and on track, but I was probably more impressed by the wet performance, purely because I wasn’t expecting it.
That said, I know that’s not what they designed for. They’re not really intended for regular road driving on a daily basis either and they make quite a noticeable hum when driving. Something I wouldn’t care less about when driving flat-out on a track, but something that all of a sudden comes to the front of your mind when tediously plodding along in traffic for hours on end. So, as soon as I got home from Ford Fair, I was straight on the internet looking at alternative options.
I’ll let you into a little secret, one of my pet hates with modified car owners is fitting budget tyres. No, I’ll go as far as to say it’s more than a pet hate, it’s actually something that genuinely winds me up, and I despise it! Why would you spend all you time, money and effort trying to improve the performance of a car only to fit a set of ‘ditch-finders’ that undo all of that hard work (and more!) in one fell swoop? In my book, those who fit budget tyres (and run on cheapo fuel, for that matter) don’t deserve to own a fast Ford.
With that off my chest, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that I spent a fair few hours researching different tyre on the market when the time came for a new set for the RS, and I narrowed my selection down to just two options; either another set of the standard-fit Michelin Pilot Sport 4, or Gooodyear’s latest in the Eagle F1 range, the new Supersport. Both are premium tyres, both are priced similarly – at around £150 per tyre – and, according to the reviews and tyre labels, both offer excellent performance in both wet or dry conditions.
Talking of tyre labels, all is not as it seems… Yes, pay attention to the wet weather rating – this is directly linked to the tyre’s braking performance in wet conditions – and do pay attention to the noise rating, as a tyre that whines like a pig will get very tiresome on long journeys. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that an ‘A’ rating for the fuel economy rating is necessarily a good thing. Although it’s displayed as a fuel economy rating, what it really relates to is the rolling resistance of the tyre. A tyre with a lower resistance may be better for fuel economy, but think about it logically for a second – what a lower resistance actually means is the tyre has less grip…! So, if anything, you want to think of the fuel economy rating as ‘backwards’, where the lower score is actually better than a higher one – certainly for a fast Ford where we’re prioritising performance over economy.
On that front, I chose the Goodyear Supersports; they have an ‘A’ rating for wet performance, yet have rolling resistance rating of ‘E’, which basically means they should be great in both wet and dry conditions – perfect for the RS then.
With a set ordered, I booked in at my local ProTyre dealer, Combe Garage in Nailsea, and promptly had the Supersports fitted. I’d love to be able to tell what you what they’re like and how they compare to the R888Rs, but the truth is since I’ve fitted them it hasn’t stopped chucking it down! That does mean, however, that despite it being August and the supposed height of summer, I have been able to get a feel for the Supersport’s performce in wet weather… and I have to say so far they have been great. The grip levels are high, but when you do start to exceed the limits of traction, it’s resulted in a slight and very predictable slide rather than any uncontrollable snatchy moments. It’s all very reassuring, and I can only imagine they will get even better with a few more miles allowing them to properly scrub-in too. As for the dry weather verdict, I’m afraid I’ll have to update you on that next time, but I’m quietly confident they’ll be up to the job…