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I just returned from my first outing on my new Hankook Ventus R-S3 track tires, and thought I would share my initial impressions, and comparison with my former Nitto NT-05s, with anyone interested:

APPEARANCE: I bought the 245/40-18 fronts and 285/35-18 rears; in those sizes the rears are 0.2" larger diameter than the fronts. The starting tread depth is 9/32". The tires have a fairly conventional looking high performance tread design (there was some decorative embossing on the tread - but that got worn off pretty fast). The shoulders look a little beefier than a standard street tire, and there is a small rim protector that is not as pronounced as most street tires or the Nitto NT-05s. The price for the set from an online vendor was about $1000.







STREET PERFORMANCE: I didn't have the opportunity to try them in the rain yet, but on dry pavement they have plenty of grip. In my plus-sized track tires, they are slightly harsher and noisier than my stock Bridgestones, but not as much as the NT-05s or NT-01s.

TRACK PERFORMANCE: I was very impressed with their performance on the track - certainly every bit as good as the NT-05s, and probably will approach the NT-01s as the tread height wears down a bit. I'm not an expert in tire construction, but I suspect that these are essentially R-compound tires with a street tread pattern - what I like to refer to as a street/track hybrid. I noticed that they behave much more like R-comps at the limit, with very little squealing compared to the NT-05s when new; they don't give a lot of warning when they start to break away.

As for tire pressures, they seem to be very similar to the Nittos - they seemed to like hot pressures in the 36-38 range. On my first couple of sessions I went into the 40's on the rears late in the sessions, and they definitely start to lose their grip then.

SUMMARY: I think that these will prove to be another excellent, reasonably-priced alternative as a hybrid street/track tire. Unfortunately, they aren't available at this time in standard 987 OEM sizes; if they were, I would even consider them as my regular summer tire.

Link to Hankook's original announcement regarding the tire: Hankook Unveils New Version of Race-Minded Ultra-High Performance Tire
 

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In the Oct. 09 issue of SportsCar (SCCA publication) there was an article "Street Touring Tire Shootout". The Hankook Ventus R-S3 ended up ended close to the top pick. Note that before testing all the prospective tires were shaved to a tread depth of 3/32". Not really practical for a street tire but definitely will mitigate tread squirm on a dedicated track tire.
 

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Just to revive an old thread, I see that these are now available from TR in the stock 18" sizes for a Cayman S; 235/40 and 265/40.

They are about $300 a set less than the RE-11, and about $200 less than the AD08.

I have not driven them, but read good things among the SCCA Street Tire crowd.

Brian
 
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