We all know that Formula 1 is regarded at the pinnacle of circuit motorsports, before budgets started getting capped the sport spens gazillions on R&D to find only the best of the best components for the cars. No matter what engine or chassis is used by any of the manufacturers, the rigidity and any other specs mean nothing unless the right tyre is fitted in each corner of the racecar. There’s that saying: “power is nothing without control” which translated to the sport of Formula 1 means that if a car has too little grip coming from the tyres, it’s simply not going to be running at its optimum and lap records will never tumble.
Tyre maker Pirelli supplies the rubber needed for Formula 1 cars to perform, and they have a few different compounds (specifications) that offer up different pros and cons when on the track. The brand makes tyres under the banner C1(Compound 1) to C5 (Compound 5), where the C stands for Compound. C. C1 is the hardest tyre from this 13-inch range of F1 tyres. C1 is designed for circuits that need the highest energy loadings through the tyres. So they usually have high speed corners, rough surfaces and high ambient temperatures which means C1 takes longer to warm up but returns great durability and provides a low degradation. C2 is a more versatile compound, but is still quite hard and is best for tracks with high high energy loads, high speed and matching temperatures.
C3 is the tyre that offers up a very great balance of performance and durability while being adaptable for it to be used as the softest compound at a high-severity track or even the hardest compound at a low-severity track - Compound 3 is one of the most commonly used compounds and is the one to choose for a street application. C4 is at home during the tight and twisty circuits thanks to a fast warm-up and great peak performance, but the downside is that they don’t have the durability and drivers need to drive with tyre wear at the forefront of their strategy. C5 is really soft and is the fastest compound Pirelli has ever made. The C5 is chosen for circuits demanding the highest levels of mechanical grip.
Over and above the odd size of the tyres, there’s also the fitment of Formula 1 wheels. These purpose made wheels use a centrelock system to be able to get them on and off as quickly as possible, and one massive nut is much easier than 4 or 5 as in a road car configuration. So instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on some custom wheels that can fit the Formula 1 Pirellis, the Driven Media guys instead had some billet adapters made up so that the wheels would fit on. Of course doing this on a Golf GTi wouldn’t work too well, so they opted to use a Caterham 270R, a popular almost open-wheeler that’s road legal and used on many weekend track days. And in this case, a trip to the shops…
Take a look at the YouTube video about fitting Pirelli Formula 1 tyres to a street car below: I Put F1 Tires on My Car | Driven Media
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