The most important tire comparison of 2013 is out and the lap times are fascinating to look at:
As the Tirerack admits after averaging nearly 100 opinions in their report, "what feels good isn't always fastest, and what's fast doesn't always feel good." Case in point: out of the top 2 performance tires (the g-Force Rival and the Direzza ZII), the Rival scored better in cornering stability, steering response, handling predictability, and even overall track rating, giving up only a statistically insignificant 1/100 of a point to the Direzza in braking modulation. The Direzza ZII still posed a lap time better by over 2/10s on a short 29-second course! The Direzza also had the best slalom time, tied with the Rival for first in average cornering, and came in second in stopping distance in the dry. It also beat the Rival in the wet.
This makes the Direzza ZII the best tire choice for performance driving. It is also available in a variety of sizes (unlike the Rival, which has limited size availability for now), costs a bit less on average, and it has proved its quality over the past 5 years with the first generation Z1. Its only drawback is that it has "... very responsive handling and excellent traction, but trades off a little civility out on the road to get it", as the Tirerack review points out. The Rival is close in terms of performance and since BFGoodrich is sponsoring this year's National Solo series, it would probably be the tire of choice for Solo competitors eyeing prize money.
Related 2013 Tire Posts:
Best 2013 Performance Tire Poll
Bridgestone RE11A: A New Suspect Has Entered the Crime Scene
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!