I bought my 1997 Porsche 993 C4S in October of ’06. Since then, I’ve put about about 6,000 miles on it (and the tires). The rear tires are showing some wear (the tread wear indicators are now visible) and I’ve decided I want to buy a new set of tires all around (this way I’m starting off fresh with a matched set and can really watch how the tires wear). What amazed me through this process is the amount of information available and the number of strong opinions on what tire type and manufacturer to purchase. The following post is what I found in my research and I hope might be useful to some of you.
Basic Tire Technical Information and Terminology
This may be old hat to some of you, but it might be useful to some (it was to me as I’m still a newbie) rather than cluttering this post, I’ve included a brief description along with a link to a much more detailed description of each term (links to The Tire Rack website).
This is a rating that matches the speed capability of the tire to the speed capability of the car to which they are installed on. Porsche uses a slightly different rating and tires should be at least N1 rated. For more information look here.
UNIFORM TIRE QUALITY GRADE OR UTQG STANDARDS –
This exists to provide you the consumer with information on tires based on a number of items including: treadwear, traction and temperature capabilities. One thing to consider, the higher the UTQG number, the better the tread-life (usually) For more information look here.
MAX LOAD –
This is just what it sounds like. The maximum amount of weight a tire is desined to carry. For more information look here.
TREAD DEPTH –
A vertical measurement between the top of the tread rubber to the bottom of the tire’s deepest groove. You can use a simple U.S. penny to help measure tread depth. If you place a U.S. Lincoln penney in the tread and you can view his entire head (above the tread) then the tire is considered legally worn and means there is about 2/32″ of tread left. For more information look here.
I’m going to be using my tires for mainly street purposes. I do intend to attend a DE event or two this year. However, if I find that I enjoy DE and will be tracking the car more often, I will buy a second set of track specific wheels and tires so I don’t ruin my street tires. So, for right now I’m focusing just on street tires.
My needs, in order are:
My choices for tires have been narrowed down to the following three:
- Bridgestone Potenza S-02
- Continental ContiSportContac 2
- Pirelli PZero Rosso
- Michelin Pilot sport Rib
There are some cheaper/less expensive tires available, but I’m a big believer in you get what you pay for. For that reason I have decided to stay away from the following tires:
Sumitomo HTR Z III Tire
- BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW 2
I have spent a considerable amount of time researching available information on all the tires. I’ve read every thread I could find on Rennlist and 911UK. I read all the reviews at Tire Rack and even poked around a few friends cars. Didn’t help at all. Way too many opinions and way too many options. I’ve decided that the best I can do is go with my gut based on my research and what’s important to me. If I don’t like the tires when I put them on and drive them, I’ll swap them right out.
So, what tire did I decide on……? The Michelin Pilot Sport Rib.
Why did I choose it?
- It had a lot of favorable reviews on both Rennlist and The Tire Rack.
- It has a UTQG rating of 220 AA A which is right in the middle of all the tires so it should prove to be sticky, but still get decent tread life.
- I’ve run Michelin Pilot’s on some of my other cars and they were very quiet. I’m hoping for the same this time around.
Something to note. Of all four tire choices, these are the 2nd heaviest. Total set weight is 100lbs. Surprisingly, the lightest pair was the Continentals at 94lbs. Fact is, I weigh almost 275lbs, so I don’t think the extra six (6) pounds is going to make a big difference (i’ll eat a lighter breakfast on driving days).
I’m going to order the tire today and I’ll write an update/review this spring once I put her back on the road.
Review of the Sumitomo HTR ZIII
A Guide to Understanding Porsche N Spec Approval Ratings when Choosing Tires
Choosing the Right Tires for your Porsche