Tires are an important aspect of racing and driving in general. Picking the right set of tires can improve your driving experience massively. With that being said, racing car tires need the best of everything. After picking the best tires, you must ensure that they’re the right size and if they’re at the right tire pressure. The following shows you what is the best tire pressure for racing and everything related to it.
The Big Question: What Is the Best Tire Pressure for Racing?
So, what’s the best tire pressure for racing? It’s not so simple. If your car weighs lesser than 800kg, you should set the psi in the 20s range. If the car weighs around a tonne, then you can bring up the pressure to 32psi. If the weight is around an extra half a tonne or more, you can bring the pressure up to 40.
You might be considering the car’s engine and drivetrain. In this case, you can set the front and rear tires in the 40-45psi range and 30-40psi range respectively for a front-engine, FWD config. If you have a front-engine car with RWD, the range is 35-45psi and 30-40psi for the front and back tires.
In case you have a car with the engine in the middle or rear, the values must change. Keep the front wheels in the same range as the front engine/RWD setup. But make sure that the rear wheels are between 35 to 40 psi. Just remember that these are recommended values and you should test them out.
How To Set Your Racing Car Tire Pressures?
It’s quite simple really, all you need is a pressure gauge, a compressor and a screwdriver. Just check the tire pressure with the gauge by putting it on the valve stem. If the reading is lower than needed, attach the compressor to the stem and start inflating. If the reading is higher, press a screwdriver on the pin.
What is Tire Pressure?
Tire pressure is the pressure of the air inside your car’s tires. This shows how much PSI is needed to support the weight of your vehicle. One can find the recommended tire pressure values for their car in the owner’s manual. These are pressures that the manufacturer designed the vehicle to perform at.
The Importance of Tire Pressure
Any driving expert will tell you how important it is to have the right tire pressure. This is because having the right pressure will protect your tires from increased wear and tire. Tire pressure is also related to passenger and driver discomfort. Overinflated tires bring with them a stiff ride.
Safety is another concern regarding tire inflation. This is because most cars’ safety systems are set to work with a certain range of tire pressures. They might not work if the pressure is too high or too low. This can cause your car to spin out of control or even have a severe crash based on the roadway.
Underinflation of tires brings about losses in your car’s fuel economy. It can also completely ruin your ability to brake properly. Underinflating your tires too much can lead to more heat being generated. This too can damage your tires further to the point of failure.
Does Higher Tire Pressure Increase Grip?
This is where the misconceptions regarding racing car tires begin. No, higher tire pressure doesn’t increase grip. In fact, it is the opposite. Lowering your tire’s pressure increases friction and hence the traction. SUV drivers do it all the time whenever they’re out on a challenging terrain.
In fact, increasing your tire pressure too much can cause it to explode. This is already bad enough on regular roads, imagine how terrible it can be during a race. But underinflation can be just as bad in racing. Underinflating tires can cause the vehicle to lose control at high speeds.
What Does Your Racing Tire Pressure Depend On?
Your racing car’s tire pressure depends on a number of factors. They are the following:
1. Type of Vehicle
The type of car you take out to the track must be considered. Its engine configuration and drivetrain are important because they decide where its weight mostly lies. This means that you must take into account if it has a rear-, front- or mid-engine configuration. You should also see if it’s a FWD, RWD or 4WD car.
2. Temperature and Weather
A race car driver should understand how temperature affects tire pressures. Heat causes them to increase and a lack of heat reduces them. When you drive around, your tires heat up. As their temperature rises, the air particles get more excited.
So if you’re driving on a hot day, you should enter the track with lower tire pressures. If it is cold or freezing, then you should ensure that the pressures are high. If you come across a wet track, you’re recommended to do the same. This can protect you from hydroplaning.
Always keep monitoring the weather and the temperature conditions.
3. Driving Style
Finally, you need to be well aware of your driving style. You should also know your limitations well. Your ability to accelerate, steer and brake and its aggressiveness matters a lot. Try to drive around by starting at higher pressures. You should observe how the grip is and lower the pressure after every slow lap.
This can help figure out the right tire pressures based on your style. You can tell if the pressure is working based on your lap times. If you have problems with understeer, you need to make sure that the front tires are at a high pressure. The rear tires should be at a lower pressure in this case.
If your problem is regarding understeer, then you should do the opposite. Keep the pressure lower upfront and higher at the back. These considerations will do wonders the next time you’re at the track. You will directly begin racing at the perfect tire pressure that you came up with.