The modern performance tire dates back to the early 1980s, when Chevrolet equipped the Corvette with Goodyear’s then-revolutionary Gatorback tire. The Formula One-inspired tire was designed with a low-profile sidewall and large tread blocks for superior traction in dry weather, and a nylon cap over the tire’s steel belts. The nylon cap helped to hold the tire together at high speeds and added stiffness to the sidewall. The Gatorback received a V speed rating, meaning it was good to 149 mph.
Today, manufacturers have realized that performance-style tires mean better handling, braking response, cornering and steering. Moreover, the design of performance tires is a good fit for antilock brakes and stability control on modern vehicles. The downside of performance tires is that, with heightened performance margins, ride and service life are compromised; that’s why there’s such a selection of UHP, performance, touring-performance and other tires available today.
Tires are a truly integral part of automotive design today – critical aspects of a tire’s design, such as height, rolling resistance and performance are taken into account in the programming of a car’s onboard computer. Deviating too far from those original-equipment tire specs can result in a squirrelly-handling car, or worse. If your car was designed for performance tires, you should stay pretty close to those specs…your car will thank you for it.
Browse our collection or view our most popular racing tires from top brands below: