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M3 owners replacing high-speed rubber at high rate

I have a BMW E36 M3. I am looking for a set of dedicated track tires. The trouble I have been running into is finding a size for the rears (P245/40R17). The fronts are P225/45R17, which is a common size.

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Q: I have a BMW E36 M3. I am looking for a set of dedicated track tires. The trouble I have been running into is finding a size for the rears (P245/40R17). The fronts are P225/45R17, which is a common size.

Currently I am running the Yokohama ADVAN A-048 (very expensive) for the track days and Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3’s for the street. It has been suggested that I consider the DunlopDirezza Sport Z1 Star Spec.

A: It seems to me that you have two choices, the Bridgestone RE-01R and the Dunlop Star Spec. Neither will be as sticky as the Yoko ADVAN but the prices are more easily digested.

Both are street tires suitable for use as track tires. The Bridgestone seems to be the stickier of the two but is priced much higher. So it becomes a question of value versus stick. A P225/45R17 Bridgestone retails for about $290 and the Dunlop is $245.

Needless to say both have outstanding dry grip and work well in the wet. They have similar tread patterns. The RE-01R has a treadwear rating of 180 while the Direzza measures in at 200.

The Star Spec has won several auto-cross series in the southern U.S. and seems to be the tire to have. I have not found reports of anyone using it on a lapping day, but with a treadwear rating of 200, I imagine it will stand up quite well.

Q: The Yokohama ADVAN Sports are just about done on my ’06 BMW M3. The fronts are okay, but the rears are almost to the wear bars. This is the second set of rear tires in 22,000 km. This thing eats tires at a far faster rate than my old Porsche 911 996 C2.

The M3 has the Competition package with 19-inch wheels. Fronts are P245/35R19 and the rears are P275/30R19.

What would you recommend? Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 or Pirellis? I find the ADVAN’s very unstable in the rain. The rear of the car sways in the rain on concrete roadways like Hwy. 407.

A: I am surprised by your experience with the Yoko ADVAN Sport in the rain. But I have never tried them on concrete. They are generally considered so good in the wet that some racers use them shaved as rain tires.

Tires to consider are: Bridgestone RE-01R, Bridgestone RE-050 Pole Position, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 and Pirelli P-Zero (the new one, it has no second name).

The RE-01R is an extreme summer performance tire; it’s almost a slick. It has huge grip numbers in the dry; it does very well in the wet. The downsides are a treadwear rating of only 140, hard ride and noise.

The RE-050 PP is a maximum summer performance tire. Great grip. Treadwear rating of 140 also; a better street ride but still hard. It is less noisy. The Pole Position compound has self-renewing tread and it really works.

The Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric grips in dry, is good in wet, but not amazing. It is stiff and noisy. Treadwear rating is 240.

The Michelin PS2 has the best ride of the group, and it performs well in the dry and wet. It is extremely predictable but not best at anything yet consistently near the top in every category. Wear rating is 220.

The Pirelli P-Zero is near the best in every category of testing but winner in none. Overall it comes out at Number 1 on points. It has awesome wet and dry grip, good ride and a treadwear of 220.

Q: I just bought a lease return car that came with Marshal I’zen KW15 Asymmetric P225/55R15. They are made in Korea. Have you ever heard of the Marshal brand?

I asked many tire places and no one knows about it. They do not even have a website. I cannot even find a DOT number. Is it even a safe tire or will I be better off getting a name brand such as Goodyear, Michelin, etc.? The car is a 2003 Mercedes E320.

A: Any tire without a DOT number is not legal for use on roads in Canada, nor is it legal to sell them in Canada. I have not driven on this particular tire.

It is a sub-brand of Kumho, which is a South Korean brand. They have manufacturing facilities is South Korea and China.

In the sub-brand and customer-brand manufacturing, there are a lot of generic brand tires with strange names. Many are made in the same factories, just the name on the sidewall changes for every batch.

They are sometimes ordered by a tire dealer by the container load. A small shipment like that usually gets by Canada Customs so the lack of DOT number is not noted.

The quality of these types of tires that I have seen runs from awful to worse. The tread pattern is often a close copy of a mainstream brand but the construction of the tire is not. For a nice car like the MB, get some safe mainstream tires.

Email tire questions to John Mahler at thetireguy_1@hotmail.com.

Please include vehicle’s make, model and year, tire brand and size, as well as your name, address and phone number.

Volume of mail prevents us from answering all queries or providing personal replies.

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