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I recently replaced my Nitto NT01 track tires with a set of NT05s, so I thought I would share my impressions on these new tires:

Appearance: I bought the 285/35-18 rears and 245/40-18 fronts, and I have to say they look really good on my RS98 rims. At the DE I attended last weekend, I had a few people come up to take a closer look at the tires. They have an aggressive looking tread pattern, but the 2 longitudinal center grooves are nearly 1” wide each, in the 285s. It seems like they could have squeezed another inch of rubber into that center section, but I guess they leave them that wide to prevent aquaplaning (more on that later). They are definitely more street tire than the NT01s with rim protectors, and conventional shoulders which are frequently interrupted by the lateral siping.



Street Performance: The tires are quieter than the NT01s, but louder than my Bridgestone or Michelin OEM tires, and also rougher riding; however, some of that may be due to the greater width of the track tires. I had to drive through a couple of heavy thunderstorms on my way to the track, and the tires with full tread felt pretty secure at 70 mph on the freeway in pretty heavy rain.

Track Performance: I started out on a wet track in the rain and I have to say the tires were scary bad in those conditions – I felt like I was driving on ice through every turn, and I was getting passed by everyone else on street tires. I would not recommend them for wet conditions. Once the track dried out, I was more impressed. Even at full tread, there was little if any tread squirm, and they have very good turn in and steering response. They seem to be as predictable at the limit as the NT01s, but that limit is a bit lower. I found that the optimum pressures seem to be similar to the NT01s as well – when my rears heated up to over 40 psi, they started to get pretty loose; keeping the hot pressures in the upper 30s seemed to work pretty well.

As an objective measure: I was able to pull 1.08 lat Gs (as measured by my iPhone) on my nearly worn-out NT01s on the track; over the same course the best I could manage on the new NT05s was .95 Gs. Nonetheless, I’m pretty happy with their performance on a dry track. I think they are a good, more economical alternative to R-comps, if you are willing to give up a little ultimate cornering grip.

I hope to try them out on the AX course soon also, and I look forward to hearing others' experiences with these tires as well.
 

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Nice review.

I'll definitely keep these in mind when the XS's wear out.

Looking at the tread design makes it clear that water evacuation wasn't a high priority--which is what you'd expect in a tire of this type.

I like those rims; BTW, any reason why you went with the 286/35 rears rather than the 275/40--other than a wider tread?:)
 

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I probably will be replacing my OEM PS2s mid-season and I was very excited about NT05s.... but the wet performance is scaring me a bit, since I need to be able to drive them on the street.
I mostly AX, so I am looking forward to that review.
At this point XS are climbing in my decision matrix and at this point I have XS and NT05 fighting for the top spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
. . . BTW, any reason why you went with the 286/35 rears rather than the 275/40--other than a wider tread?:)
Actually, I contemplated going with the 295/35-18s since I think I would have had no problem fitting them with the offset of the RS98 rims, and they would have been even closer to the diameter of the stock rears; however, I chose the 285s since they had an XL rating, and were just a bit under the stock diameter. Since they are going to be dedicated track/AX tires, I mainly wanted wider tread.
 

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I probably will be replacing my OEM PS2s mid-season and I was very excited about NT05s.... but the wet performance is scaring me a bit, since I need to be able to drive them on the street.
I mostly AX, so I am looking forward to that review.
At this point XS are climbing in my decision matrix and at this point I have XS and NT05 fighting for the top spot.
I've had NT-05's on my car for the last 6000 miles, including a cold and wet weekend at VIR, a partially wet day of mountain driving (scouting for Rock'n'Croc 4), and heavy rain on the interstate.

I've been pleased with their wet performance. I think I was slipping around less in the twisties than the other guys on the scouting trip, and there were no iffy moments during sustained downpours on the interstate.

They're also a great dry track tire for a street tire. I drove them all the way to and from Sebring from NC, and had two great (dry) days on track there. I don't have any autocross experience with them yet.

So my experience has been a little different from Andrew's. I wouldn't hesitate to use these tires on the street in the rain, and I use them as my wet tires on track (I have NT-01's for dry local tracks).
 

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I wonder how they compare to PS2s for wet traction?
 

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I'm using 245/19 and 275/19. One track day is not totally conclusive, but I am quite pleased with these. My lap times were closer to those I got on NT 01s last season than to my times on PS2s (maybe partially attributable to one size larger NT05s). As one poster noted, they are very unhappy over 40 psi, going slippery after 15 minutes.
My daily driving has been limited, but I noticed no additional noise, but the stiffer sidewalls give a slightly firmer ride, but not so much as to be annoying.
 

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It would be awesome to hear from others about their experience autocrossing on these tires.
 

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After 7 track days, my only complaint is premature wear in the center section. I have been running them as low as 32lb hot and it looks like the wear typical of overinflation. Lap times are .5 sec slower(out of 90 secs) than NT04s. They're not great in rain, but not totally scary either.
 

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Well, the wet handling is what causing me concern. I chose to cut my season until late fall, so I have time to find that next tire to replace my PS2s.
RE-11s look like an option... I had so much easier time finding the right tire for my other car.
 

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RE-11s look like an option... I had so much easier time finding the right tire for my other car.
One week after installing RE-11s we got a good rain here in TX so I went out with the purpose of evaluating wet traction. It was awesome! I could toss the car around much harder than I expected. Time will tell how long the wet traction continues but right now, I have total confidence in the RE-11s on wet pavement.
 

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I just got back from a day at Laguna Seca in the rain. The NT05's I was running were complete **** in the rain. In the dry, I was one of the fastest in the group. In the wet, I had to slow down to a crawl to avoid getting sideways.
 

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NT-05 is one of my least favorite performance tires. They were unpredictable in the dry, scary in the rain, and melted off my rims in 4k miles. RE=11, RS-3, AD-08, Rival, all are more confidence inspiring, and hold up better under continuous lapping IMO.
 
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