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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading on here that a lot of people recommend/use 18" wheels for the track, but 19 - 20" wheels for the road. Since a lower profile tire helps with handling, and a track is really smooth, I would think that wheel sizing would be the opposite of that. What am I missing?
 

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Why 18" Wheels Best for Track, 19 - 20" for Road?

On track you would think about total weight (wheel + tire), availability of the tires you prefer in the sizes you need, and the cost of those tires since you go through them much more quickly.

That doesn't mean 18" is automatically the best choice for every car, setup and budget.

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I've been reading on here that a lot of people recommend/use 18" wheels for the track...
Correct

I've been reading on here that a lot of people recommend/use 19 - 20" wheels for the road.
Correct

...Since a lower profile tire helps with handling....
Are you sure?

.... and a track is really smooth...
You've never done track, have you?

What am I missing?
What has been posted by people that mainly do tracks versus those that don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Correct; I always believed that a lower profile tire had less sidewall flex thus making it better handling, and correct again, I have never been on a track, I have just watched enviously (at Lime Rock) from a distance. But I would like to try a DE day or more this summer, thus the reason for my question, (as well as curiosity).

So this leads me to my next question: does the average person that tracks their car often have two sets of wheels and tires? And if so, do they change them over before they drive to the track and then again when they get home, (PITA?), or just go with the best compromise wheel tire set up?
 

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Hard to say what average is. But I track quite a bit and my home track is not real smooth, and how to say this- sometimes I drive on the brown or grassy part of the racing surface. So to save my nice spyder wheels I got a set of less expensive but strong O.Z. wheels. I went 18in for slightly cheaper and wider selection of tires. Once you start down the slippery slope of track addiction, the whole tire/wheel thing gets complex. many like me use track oriented street tires like Yoko AD08R and drive to/from track (for me 1 hr each way). Then I swap my 19s on for street. Some will drive to/from on DOT Rs like Pilot sport cups. Some will drive on NT01s but that can be dicey in heavy rain. Some have small trailers towed by the track car and carry DOT Rs, including Hoosiers or racing slicks. The next step is a trailer (open vs enclosed is another story..) and then you can really go wild with multiple sets. Best thing I can suggest is read the threads here and do a few DEs with stock wheels/tires, look around the paddock and talk to other drivers and especially instructors. No best answer but you will get lots of input to consider. In my experience track people are always happy to help with suggestions and sharing their experience.
 

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Here is a tip to save you lots of money

DO - look for the tires and size that you want then buy the wheels to fit.
DON'T - look for the wheels that you want then try to find the tires to fit.

Most people start with the "DON'T"
 

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If you've never been on the track, do your first several DEs with your stock setup and learn about your car and yourself. Then re-evaluate where you are and what you want. Honestly, at your level it just doesn't matter which wheels or tires you use.

Oh, and the average DE participant runs on street tires and stock suspension, and has a great time. Don't get ahead of yourself.
 

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Why 18" Wheels Best for Track, 19 - 20" for Road?

If you've never been on the track, do your first several DEs with your stock setup and learn about your car and yourself. Then re-evaluate where you are and what you want. Honestly, at your level it just doesn't matter which wheels or tires you use.
Agreed. I'm just getting back into this after a long time.. But last time I was active in PCA and BMWCCA, starting as a complete novice, I went a couple of years and into the advanced run groups with an absolutely stock 996 on street tires before I bought my first GT3 and then another year I think before I started experimenting with tires and such.

I did have to upgrade brake pads earlier in my learning on that old 996, but that was it. That's the beauty of these cars, they really are more than enough out of the box for years of learning and enjoyment. Drive right onto the track, and then drive back home.


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Correct; I always believed that a lower profile tire had less sidewall flex thus making it better handling, and correct again, I have never been on a track, I have just watched enviously (at Lime Rock) from a distance. But I would like to try a DE day or more this summer, thus the reason for my question, (as well as curiosity).

So this leads me to my next question: does the average person that tracks their car often have two sets of wheels and tires? And if so, do they change them over before they drive to the track and then again when they get home, (PITA?), or just go with the best compromise wheel tire set up?
Less sidewall flex does not mean better. Some people may prefer less or more flex. Tire is part of the suspension.
I have 2 sets of wheels and change between track and street. I do tow car to the track.
I use 18's for track (better choices and cheaper) and 19's for street (car came with 19's).
 

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Not on the track, but I've testing on wheel size/ tire size thing a good bit. There is a point where you don't have enough tire flex and IMO it drives 'more erratically' (more spin, less traction, less-forgiving steering); some people like this, some don't. 20 inch wheels with 235/35 tires is probably at the point of 'not much rubber' and I personally like 245/40 on the same wheel (difference in rubber would be like 19 vs 20 inch wheel). Having too much rubber can be bad effects (depending on the tire), but having 'just enough' leads to a better drive/ride. If I were to build a new car or buy new wheels, I wouldn't go crazy on the wheel size... probably wouldn't take a 20 inch...probably a nice looking 18 inch set.

Otherwise, you definitely want to focus on the tire you want to use rather than wheel. Tires make a big difference. When you have a smaller wheel, you got a lot choices on tires, so in all likelihood you'll get a better tire that works for you with smaller wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Alright, thanks for even more great advice. Rather than follow the logical progression of this thread and ask the question that I am sure has been beaten to death already; which tires are the best combination for street and track if you only have one set of wheels, I will use the search button.

Personally, I am still in the Waiter's Club for my 2015 Sapphire Blue 6MT Base Cayman with 18" Boxster Wheels, (estimated delivery date 5/25/15), so while enduring my agonizing wait, reading this forum daily (sometimes multiple times daily) gives me solace and invaluable information as well. Really, where else can you get this much information about our cars and everything related to them? Certainly not my SA or even the Porsche website. This forum is a goldmine!

So one last question now that I think of it; how do Porsche drivers acknowledge other Porsche drivers on the road? Jeep has the subtle hand wave and BMW has the headlight blink. Do we have the big happy grin??
 

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Less sidewall flex does not mean better. Some people may prefer less or more flex. Tire is part of the suspension.
I have 2 sets of wheels and change between track and street. I do tow car to the track.
I use 18's for track (better choices and cheaper) and 19's for street (car came with 19's).
Same here. 19" wheels for the street and 18" for the track. I have quiet (and reasonably cheap) 19" Bridgestone S-04's as my street tires, but the're not great at the track. My track tires are 18" Dunlop Direzza Star II's. Great grip but too loud for the street. My tire guy, Ernie Bello at Bello Motorsport in West Palm Beach, keeps my track wheels at his shop. I stop by and swap out street wheels for track wheels before every track weekend. The Dunlops are street legal, so I drive them to to the track. (Sebring and Homestead are each about 100 miles away.)

18" wheels and tires are generally lighter than their 19" equivalents. And 18" tires are probably 20% cheaper. When I switched to the 18* track tires I dropped two seconds off my fastest Sebring lap times. Don't know how much of that was due to the tires, but it's clear that going with 18" wheels didn't slow me down. Cheaper and (probably) faster - can't argue with that!
 

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People who make the 18" recommendations are the ones who have extra sets of wheels laying around in that size from previous Porsches. My recommendation is you go with the best tire technology you can get your hands on. Pilot Sport Cup 2 acts like a PSS on the street but is far more track capable, tolerating higher temperature and pressure without getting greasy or sliding. They come shaved to 5.5mm tread depth so your life is halved before you even mount them. They mostly come in 19" and 20", but there is a staggered 18" set for sale now also.

If it's good enough for a 918 and a GT4, it's good enough for everything else.
 

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People who make the 18" recommendations are the ones who have extra sets of wheels laying around in that size from previous Porsches.
I just bought brand new 18" wheels. I looked for tires and they had no 19's in stock, they either had fronts or rears depending on brand. 18's were in stock so I bought wheels in 18.
Now I have both 18 and 19 and have even more choices.
 

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People who make the 18" recommendations are the ones who have extra sets of wheels laying around in that size from previous Porsches. My recommendation is you go with the best tire technology you can get your hands on. Pilot Sport Cup 2 acts like a PSS on the street but is far more track capable, tolerating higher temperature and pressure without getting greasy or sliding.
I agree that you should go with the best tire technology you can find. But a set of 19" PS Cup 2's is over $1,800. I bought some 18" 996 wheels because 18" tires are so much less expensive but still do the job. I use Dunlop Direzza II Star Specs. A set of 18" is under $1,000 and they last twice as many track days as the Cup 2's. At my rate of 15 plus track days a year, having as much fun at the track as possible without going broke is a factor. 18" tires and wheels can be just as quick as 19's, but at a steep discount.
 
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I can think of a lot of Porsche options that don't get you nearly as much performance as a set of PSC2. Like nearly every option.


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I can think of a lot of Porsche options that don't get you nearly as much performance as a set of PSC2. Like nearly every option.


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Agree with that, but is a PSC2 faster/better than NT01? I don't know but I got a set of NT01s in 18in from discount tire for about $1100 and a set of PSC2s in 19in from tirerack are $1750. Availability for any of the R tires can be a factor too.
 

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I can think of a lot of Porsche options that don't get you nearly as much performance as a set of PSC2. Like nearly every option.
And which of those options wear out in a few weekends or less?

BTW, do you run PSC2 on the track? If so, what sizes, what camber settings, what run groups, and how many heat cycles do you get? If not, why not?


Dan
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