When it comes to purchasing a set of tires, the offerings can seem limitless-and a bit confusing to those with little knowledge about them. You can certainly read up on them online (at chevyhiperformance.com, for instance), but it really comes down to one simple question: What are your intentions?
You need to figure out if you're looking for all-out performance or if longevity is more applicable for your needs.
The C5 Z06 came stock with...
The C5 Z06 came stock with Goodyear F1 Supercar tires, sans spare, which was not a problem, thanks to their Extended Mobility Technology construction (also known as run-flats). This provides temporary driveability with a complete loss of air. While the NT05s aren't considered run-flats, the softer construction offers a significantly plusher ride. As for running into a flat tire situation, we have AAA to rescue us.
In our case, we were interested in a set of performance tires for our '02 C5 Z06 Corvette. The original Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar rubber, a good tire in its own right, was worn out and more-or-less ready to be retired. It was a perfect time to try out Nitto's latest NT05s.
We had a number of reasons for our decision. For starters, we're planning to hit up several autocross and open track events throughout the year, and while race tires seem enticing, we wanted a tire that could be driven to and from the events. Another important aspect was the treadwear rating, since most of the events we're planning to enter have a minimum 200 rating requirement. Of course, the other important factors include a nice ride quality for road trips and the ability to shed water when caught in the occasional SoCal downpour. Our criteria may seem extremely demanding, but the NT05s sounded very promising-at least on paper they were the perfect tire for us.
To get the baseline numbers, we headed over to our new test facility at the former El Toro Marine Base, where we put the Z06 through the paces in the 420-foot slalom, 60-0 mph braking, and the skidpad. While the baseline numbers were impressive, the NT05s didn't disappoint. For the full disclosure, turn to the next page and see why we're so hip to Nitto's NT05 lineup!
What Is It
Nitto's latest maximum-performance tire
What We Did
Outfit our C5 Z06 with a fresh set of sneakers and put them to the test
$940 ($180 each for P275/40R17, $290 each for P295/35R18)
|BY THE NUMBERS
We borrowed Nick Licata from...
We borrowed Nick Licata from sister book Camaro Performers to get behind the wheel for our baseline numbers. After getting familiar with the Z06, he managed to run 5.89 seconds through the 420-foot slalom. He did mention a little bit of a push through the cones but said it was pretty stable overall.
Handling the 200-foot diameter...
Handling the 200-foot diameter skidpad was our other shoe for the day, Jason Scudellari. Runs were made both clockwise and counterclockwise, revealing similar numbers ranging from 0.94 to 0.96 g.
When it came to 60-0 braking,...
When it came to 60-0 braking, the results were stellar at 112 feet. Even more impressive was the fact we were able to drop that to 104.5 feet by simply swapping over to the new tires. Out of the factory, the Z06 came with P265/40ZR17s. Not available in a 265, we stepped up to a slightly larger size: P275/40ZR17. We attributed the reduced stopping distance to the wider contact patch and stickier tire. And to think, we haven't even played with the brakes yet!
The NT05 is mighty fine-looking...
The NT05 is mighty fine-looking piece with an aggressive tread pattern. Several features really stand out, including (A) the reinforced shoulder tread blocks for added rigidity and stability, (B) the center rib offers the ideal tread contact for the ultimate in dry performance, and (C) the water channels do an excellent job of evacuating water. As for sizing, Nitto currently offers them in 17- to 20-inch diameters ranging from 225 to 335 widths.
Unless you're familiar with...
Unless you're familiar with the slalom, it's hard to describe the amount of effort it takes to improve your times with a well-sorted chassis. To give you some perspective, our '72 Nova baselined at 6.78 seconds. However, for the second outing with the Nittos, we managed to improve our times from 5.89 to 5.79 seconds. It's worth mentioning, the one thing we really took notice of was that our times were much more consistent and much quicker on average over the baseline numbers.
The NT05 skidpad numbers didn't...
The NT05 skidpad numbers didn't let us down with a 0.99 g; we got very close to the elusive 1 g marker we were shooting for. We still have a few changes to make, so don't count us out just yet to eclipsing that number. At the end of the day, we were happy with the results, and the NT05s are an excellent street tire that can perform while offering a comfortable road feel. Just wait until you see what we have planned next!