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Toyo for 97 ?

29 March 2005
Hi all. I have a 97 with stock wheels (16 x17)and tires (Yokohamas) and now wish to do some track days. I plan to use Toyo RA1s. I noticed there are quite a few threads talking about these tires but most seem to be related to 91 - 96 NSX's and many talk about the tires rubbing fender wells etc. So here is my question, I wish to purchase a set of track wheels and then get a set of RA1's that I will mount, drive to track, run that day, then chage back to street tires. Toyo doesn't make a size that matches the stock sizes so - What it the best size wheel and tire to use for track days that will require no vehicle mods but still give the best track results? Thanks.
If you have some track days under your belt going to RA1's would be a good idea, otherwise get some track days using street tires first. You will be a much better driver learning to drive at the track with street tires first rather than going with R-compounds right away.

I see way too many newbies at the track who start with R-compounds and don't make much progress, and they wonder why. A street tire will give way at a lower speed than a R compound and it also gives audible warning. This might not apply to you, but given the lack of information I would rather err in the side of caution.

Now getting back to your original question. You won't be able to find a proper RA1 tire to fit the front 16 inch rim, so your options are:


205/40/17 on a 17x7 or 17x7.5 wide rim
235/40/17 on a 17x8 inch wide rim (might rub depending on the wheel offset)

255/40/17 on a 17x9 wide rim
275/35/18 on a 18x9.5 wide rim

Either way, as soon as you start using aftermarket wheels you will be changing the OEM suspension geometry of your car to some degree.

Some folks opt and go with the 02+ OEM NSX 17/17 wheels so that the suspension geometry is not affected as much and go with the 205/40/17 and 255/40/17.

As far as the wheel selection, try to stay with the high quality forged wheels if possible.

Some folks like the SSR Comp H which can be purchased in both 17/18 and 17/17 sizes and pretty reasonable in price as well as being lightweight.

I've run some Volk Racing TE37's in 17/18 (17x7.5 with 40mm offset and 18x9.5 with 40mm offset) sizes and currently use some Prodrive GC-07's (17x7.5 44mm offset and 18x9.5 with 44mm offset) and GC-010 (17x7.5 with 35mm offset and 18x9.5 with 42mm offset)

Sometimes it comes down to your budget as well as other issues like caliper clearance in case you go with a BBK later on, etc, etc.

Providing a bit more info might help others answer your questions better.

And keep in mind that there *are* other R-compund tires besides the RA1 that are available in the market. Pirelli P-Zero Corsa, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Yokohama Advan A048, Yokohama Advan A032R, Kumho VictoRacers, etc, etc.

I hope this helps,

Ken pretty much covered everything you needed to know as far as advice goes...
As he's more experienced and faster than me, I'm not qualified giving you any more suggestions that contradicting his advices.

Even though the other Ken, you know, the blue one;) swear by the stock Yokohama tires, there's at least one person (me) not like them. If you take 2slow2speed's advice wholeheartly, then buy youself some different street tires. Bridegstone S0-3, Toyo T1-S/T1-R and Kumho MX would be some other choices. Not to putting you down, you were obviously playing it safe when you were at the track last time, (it's nothing wrong with that), your next track day will definately be much faster and easier... say by the 2nd sessions of the day, you are going to start picking up the pace.

If you have to buy another set of rims, try getting some used rims and shod them with different tires only for track use, as you might noticed already, PR chewed up tires on one side quite a bit.

BTW, one more thing to add, with the 16/17 or 17/17 combo, I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to fit them all in your car, so switching them according to the track condition is not an option, unless you got a back up car/trailer to fit the extra tires in.

Last thing I will try if I were you will be the alignment...
NSXDreamer2 said:
BTW, one more thing to add, with the 16/17 or 17/17 combo, I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to fit them all in your car
Are you sure about that? It should be easy enough to check, because I KNOW that the stock size 16"/17" tires or 17"/17" tires will fit with a rear in the trunk and two (a front and a rear) on the seat. The only one I'm not sure about is whether you can fit a front tire behind the passenger seat. So here's how to check: Take a front wheel/tire and put it in a big garbage bag to keep it from getting the car dirty (the 39-gallon lawn/leaf size, not the 33 gallon trash can size). Slide the passenger seat full forward and the seat back full upright. Move the seat belt out of the way by looping it over the seat headrest. See if you can slide the front tire behind the seat back, with the face towards the rear. If you can, then getting the other three tires into the car is easy (I can give you instructions if you need them).

Don't say it won't unless you've tried it, though; it may not seem possible, but I can assure you that it's easy to put the '91-93 front size (205/50-15) wheel/tire behind the passenger seat back.
Hi Ferrand,

I should have checked Knome_#2 other posts, from your post it sounded like he's local to your neck of the woods. After searching his earlier posts I was able to learn that he's an ex SCCA racer. I still think that staying with street tires for a couple more events might be the best way so that he can get familiar with the NSX inherent handling characteristics than going with R-compounds right now.

As you stated Pacific Raceways really chews tires because of the rough surface and the large positive camber in some of the turns, so being able to flip the tires is probably something that you all need to do often up there. Either that or balance things out by running another track that has more right turns like PIR :D


P.S. You are still faster than me at Pacific Raceways ;) You might want to check the Infineon Track event in November that Hrant is referring to in the Northwest Forums section, I think that all of you who run at Pacific Raceways will enjoy Infineon :cool:
Hey Ken, Thanks for the advice. As Ferrand mentions I actually did a fair amount of SCCA racing years ago. However last weekend was my first track day in 1) many years and 2) in my new NSX, and 3) at Seattle Raceways. It seems about half of the corners there are lined with cement or trees. In the old days I looked at each corner and thought "How can I get a tenth here." In the NSX I looked at each corner and thought "dont bend it - dont bend it". The street tires were predictable, they just offered less grip than I was expecting (especially once hot). However now that I know which way the track goes, I might just try it as is once more and see if I can compensate for my reluctance to push before springing for new hardware.
Are you sure about that? It should be easy enough to check, because I KNOW that the stock size 16"/17" tires or 17"/17" tires will fit with a rear in the trunk and two (a front and a rear) on the seat.

My bad, Ken, oh Bill, sorry for the faulty information. I kept forgetting I had the harness bar behind the seat, which effectively making the stock 15/16 combo set up really a tight tight fit... (stock 205/50/15 won't even go behind the seats.)

Bill, don't feel like you are a slow guy or whatever, the day we attended I believed was the only proformance day that all the novices had prior experiences at other tracks, AutoX... If you are showing up at one of those Proformance driving school day (you know with newbie never push their cars even on the street), or even some other club days in Novice group... You won't get pass left and right. In fact with a nsx, you will be passing people in every passing zone.
We run Toyo RA1's at the track with an NSX on Eibach's
235-40-17 17x8.0 +43mm net
275-40-17 17x9.0 +40mm net


I say "net" due to some small spacers to acheive those desired offsets.
Also a 17" rear is used instead of 18" for weight and cost savings.

I can get you track wheels and RA-1's if you need them.