David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/21/20 10:28 a.m.
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What’s one of the biggest consumables when putting a car on track? Tires. 

And how can you ratchet down your tire budget? A few ways: Run fewer track days, drive smoother or, here’s another one, move to a smaller tire. 

While a lot of people track their M3s on 18-inch tires&…

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Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
12/21/20 2:02 p.m.

275/40/17 NT01s. The BEST track tire speed/value prop for a dedicated e46m3 wheel set (for HPDE).

STM317
STM317 UberDork
12/21/20 2:09 p.m.

How long do these tires tend to last? Because by the time you buy new smaller wheels for $1-2k, pay $900 for new smaller tires, and buy the spacers/studs to fit the square setup on the car you've spent $2-3k to save $260 per set of tires. That's a breakeven point that could be 8-12 sets of tires away if tire life is roughly the same between the 17s and the 18s. If you can get multiple events out of a set, you could be talking several years before switching to the smaller size pays off financially.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
12/21/20 2:27 p.m.

In reply to STM317 :

If new tires already needed to be purchased anyway, and the wheels already have the right offset, the savings to break even stays at a little over a grand. But yes, 4 sets of tires will still take some time to break even too.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/21/20 2:35 p.m.
STM317 said:

How long do these tires tend to last? Because by the time you buy new smaller wheels for $1-2k, pay $900 for new smaller tires, and buy the spacers/studs to fit the square setup on the car you've spent $2-3k to save $260 per set of tires. That's a breakeven point that could be 8-12 sets of tires away if tire life is roughly the same between the 17s and the 18s. If you can get multiple events out of a set, you could be talking several years before switching to the smaller size pays off financially.

Another question is, in terms of track miles, does a wheel last through 12 sets of 200TW tires?  Also, 12 sets of A052s = $10,500 surprise

I'm sure here a lot of the reason for switching wheels is to get a square setup.  If doing that, going to a better size makes sense at the same time.

15f80
15f80 New Reader
12/21/20 2:39 p.m.

Has GRM ever run an in depth story about why car manufacturers keeps putting bigger and bigger wheels on cars?

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/21/20 3:31 p.m.
Olemiss540 said:

275/40/17 NT01s. The BEST track tire speed/value prop for a dedicated e46m3 wheel set (for HPDE).

You don't seem to save much going to 17s with NT01s, $235 for the 17s and $250 for the 275/35R18s.

I've got 18x10 ARC-8s on mine, not sure the 17s would clear the brakes that I've got on the car.

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
12/21/20 4:11 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Olemiss540 said:

275/40/17 NT01s. The BEST track tire speed/value prop for a dedicated e46m3 wheel set (for HPDE).

You don't seem to save much going to 17s with NT01s, $235 for the 17s and $250 for the 275/35R18s.

I've got 18x10 ARC-8s on mine, not sure the 17s would clear the brakes that I've got on the car.

 

60 bucks is 60 bucks man!!!

Oh, and that doesnt factor in the pricing on the wheels....

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/21/20 4:18 p.m.

And you can save even more by switching to a car that uses 13" wheels...................

 

350z247
350z247 New Reader
12/23/20 2:52 p.m.

I think the intention is "If you're going to buy a set of track wheels, go for square 17s instead of staggered 18s or 19s" to save money up front and in the future. It doesn't make sense for someone who only tracks a few times a year, but if you're buying new wheels anyway, it's a good plan. I am a very big fan of square set-ups.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/20 2:54 p.m.
350z247 said:

I think the intention is "If you're going to buy a set of track wheels, go for square 17s instead of staggered 18s or 19s" to save money up front and in the future. It doesn't make sense for someone who only tracks a few times a year, but if you're buying new wheels anyway, it's a good plan. I am a very big fan of square set-ups.

Yup, that's it. If you don't have track wheels and are buying track wheels, square 17s for the M3 might be the answer. 

johndvm
johndvm
10/29/21 7:58 p.m.

A side benefit of smaller tires can be smaller diameter, resulting in slightly higher effective numerical gearing as well as a slightly lower CG.

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