Optimal Tire Temperature

Optimal Tire Temperature

In this video I discuss the importance of maintaining optimal tire temperature on the track. I also explore how a driver directly plays a key role in making sure temperatures stay in an optimal range.

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Video Transcript

Hey Matt Covert here again from howtobecomearacecardriver.com. And in this video we’re going to talk about optimal tire temperatures. And this is pretty critical when understanding how you need to manage the tires on your racecar. So let’s hop right on into it.

OK. Every tire has kind of a thermal sweet spot where, when it’s in a certain temperature range, it produces optimum grip. And that’s what you’re going for. OK? The best way to obtain this number is to simply call the maker of the tire. That makes sense. Manufacturer. Right? They’ve done tons of testing on their own tires and they know exactly where each tire’s sweet spot really is. So give them a call and see if you can get that information. Usually not that big of a deal. And of course, like I said, your goal is to find the optimal tire temperature range. Something you definitely need to know. Alright?

So let’s look real quick at what a, what heat does to a tire’s’ ability to grip. So let’s just make a really basic graph here. We’ll make a heat value and grip. Like that, alright? So as a tire starts to warm up it becomes better and stickier and grippier and then once it reaches it’s breaking point then of course the grip will start to go down again. This is where you want to try and keep your tires when you’re on the racetrack.

OK? If you’re not driving your car hard enough then you’re not warming up the tires. That’s why you see racecar drivers always kind of serving around when they’re under a caution lap or something like that because they’re trying to get their tire temperatures to go up. They’re trying to create more friction so they can get closer to this sweet spot when the racing starts again. And that’s really important because if you go past that, just like if you don’t get up to it, then you’re losing grip again. And once you get up here, once gets so much that you’re losing grip, you’re actually just deteriorating the tire, which is just kind of a huge waste. Alright?

So let’s look at a couple ways that a driver can control the tire temperatures on his racecar. And the first one would be, you want to have the right tire pressure on your vehicle. As an example, when your tire pressure is, we’ll just say, low, and there’s a tire pressure video which explains what this looks like and why, but I’ll make a quick crude diagram here. This is what a low tire pressure tire looks like from the end. And you can see that it kind of bulges out on the sidewalls. And as a tire rotates this creates a ton of flexing in the tire carcass. And what that does, all the flexing, you know what flexing something does, it creates heat because all the molecules are constantly moving against each other and stuff like that.

So this can easily overheat a tire when you’re tire pressure is low. Definitely something you want to avoid. Another thing that a driver can do that effects heat is driving aggressively. And what happens when you drive aggressively obviously is, when you, let’s say a driver is using a bigger yaw angle, we talked about that too. I’ll put another link up here on the screen for that one as well. When a driver uses an aggressive yaw angle he’s really just potentially burning up his tires because he’s using large slip angles. Look at all this stuff that ties together, I love this stuff.

So it’s up to the driver to keep his tire pressures low when he’s out on the track. And this is really important to understand because he can stay out on the track longer without deteriorating your tires then you definitely have a huge advantage, right?

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