Friday, February 22, 2013

Bridgestone RE11A: A New Suspect Has Entered the Crime Scene

This year has already seen two very exciting tire introductions: the long-awaited Dunlop Direzza replacement and the new kid on the block BFG g-Force Rival. To make our heads spin even worse with tough choices, the new Bridgestone Potenza RE11A is shaping up to be a formidable competitor as well. The Tirerack just announced the following:

***Bridgestone RE11A UPDATE***

Launch will be in March 2013
10 sizes 15"- 18"
40 - 45 series
V and W speed rating
New compound designed specifically for autocross with better wear

The Dunlop Direzza has had a cult-like following among track day and autocross junkies. The Rival may be even faster, at least in the dry. And now we get the RE11A claimed to be specifically built for autocross!

Looking at the RE11A, two thoughts come to mind immediately:
  1. The treadblocks are not quite as big as the Direzza II and Rival's but that's not to say the RE11A won't be faster.
  2. It has asymmetric design, which will likely make it a good rain tire. Unfortunately, because of this design, we won't be able to swap the tires side to side to even out the wear.
This is the best article on the RE11A's performance so far. I found these comments most interesting in the write-up:

Andrie Hartanto added, "When comparing to the RE-11, the RE-11A's overall grip is much better. The turn-in has improved and there are marginal improvements in braking as well. True, I did mention to the guys that I felt the car suffered from more understeer with the RE-11A, but that's a result of a tire that is easier to control on oversteer. I'm very impressed with this tire, especially after having the opportunity to test them back to back. Both tires' characteristics really were exposed during this test and I think enthusiasts will be pretty happy with this tire.

So putting everything together from all available info as of today:

RE11A > RE11
Direzza II > Direzza Star Spec
BFG Rival > Direzza II (unofficial, based on Andy Hollis' test only)

  1. Which of the 3 new tires will be fastest in the dry?
  2. Which one will need less heat to get to its optimal performance (good for autocross)?
  3. Which one will hold the heat best over a full session at the track?
  4. How will they compare in the rain?
  5. How will the real-world treadwear compare?
We will have the first track reports soon. It's very exciting that we have 3 great tires to choose from this season. Question is, how long can you wait before you make a decision that will greatly impact your driving season?

3/4/2013 UPDATE:
According to the Tireack, the following size will launch on March 22nd:

This is a limited size selection and it's disappointing to see that 255 will be the max width available and that there is only one option for 18" wheels.

Related 2013 Tire Posts:
More Thoughts on Street-Legal Performance Tires from Andy Hollis
Best 2013 Performance Tire Poll
Dunlop Direzza ZII - Onboard Video at the Autocross
Dunlop Direzza ZII - First Driving Impressions
Dunlop Direzza ZII: The Lap Time Comparison We've All Been Waiting for!
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival: The Plot Thickens!
First Dunlop Direzza ZIIs Shipped to Customers!!
Dunlop Star Spec Direzza ZII: A Tire as Exciting as a Date with Scarlet Johansson!