Got back early from NASA So Cal event at Buttonwillow due to a rather "stupidity" on my end. No crash or rollover or anything like that. More will be posted in my blog...
This is about the Z211. I have used Pilot Sport Cup, RA-1 and NT-01 in the past.
Like many others, I had my doubts about the Z211s. I bought a set because they were on a close-out deal. Not to mention, Hanook has a new contingency program with NASA TT. So I thought, how bad
can the Z211s be? At the most, I lose traction, slide a little here and there. It's all about controlling the car anyway.
Car's comp wt is 3460lbs with driver and 235rwhp.
I put them on a set of Kosei 17X8.5. Brand new Z211s, no shaving, no heat cycling. Ran them for the first practice for a couple of laps and cooled them down for a good hour. Probably not the best way to break in the tires, but what the heck. We have 5 sessions: practice, TT2, TT3, TT4 and TT shootout.
Yesterday's weather was cold and cloudy, on the brink of a heavy rainfall. So it did take a little time to warm up the tires. Rain started drizzling in TT2 a little bit and TT4 shootout. My last BL was 2:10 in this exact configuration.
My practice was about 2:14. The weather during TT2 started to warm up a little, but drizzled towards the end and I managed to grab a 2:09. Tires were up to about 39~40psi. Tire temps were in the 55C to 65C range. I left the air pressure as such and in TT3, I pushed the car a little harder and I improved to a 2:08. I kicked back a little in TT4 and during the shootout, rain came and I was back in the 2:13 region.
In a sentence, I love the Z211 and they handle a lot like the RA-1 and NT-01 but a little with more predictability. The RA-1s are almost undriveable brand new off the shelves with the small blockly pattern but these Z211s are. The Z211 does screech a lot but it moves you through the corners nonetheless. And like other R-comps, they don't like it when it's cold. But yes, they do grip pretty well in the rain. During the shootout, the rain didn't deter my car from maneuvering through the corners. But not having much experiences competing in the rain and being first time using Z211s, I decided to take it down two notches.
At the end of the day, I was happy to know that I scored a 1st place out of 5 starters for my class TTD. This was quite unexpected given that I was using a brand new set of R-comps which I have not much expectation of. I am beginning to think that this may be the
R-comp for me. The rest of my worthy competitors were using NT01s and RA1s.
The sad thing is Z211 is no longer offered in the US. Jeff Koehler, Motorsports Marketing Manager of Hankook, says if there is a need, Hankook might bring back the Z211s. But no one knows for sure...