Always wanting to give racers the most traction possible, Mickey Thompson Tires & Wheels is releasing a new line of limited-traction drag-race tires with three different options to choose from. We spoke with Mickey Thompson Motorsports Director Jason Moulton to learn more about the new product line.
“Drag racing is growing in a lot of different areas, new segments are emerging, especially with the availability of glue being an issue over the past few years,” Moulton tells us. “A lot of sanctioned races are offering varying track prep situations. You have radial prep on one end, and we have certain products that run well in those areas. At the other end, there are tracks that want to make it more challenging for racers, and we want our tires to cover the full gambit.”
The limited-traction tire line is designed for racing surfaces that have limited preparation or none at all, and while racers have done well to use currently available products to race in these track conditions, Mickey Thompson found that some racers were doing things to attempt to increase traction from the tires, but were ultimately detrimental to performance. The best way to go about it was to engineer tires for those applications, which is what Mickey Thompson did.
“People were running too low of air pressure and crushing the sidewall,” Moulton explains. “They were using low air pressure because the compound is not soft enough, but you want to keep the tire round and maintain the surface area. The better you do that, the better off you’ll be.”
For this product line, Mickey Thompson chose to utilize bias-ply tire construction for the best performance in limited-traction conditions.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about absorbing energy,” Moulton says. “With the technology available, the bias-ply has the ability to absorb energy in these situations better than a radial.”
The three options currently available in the Limited Traction tire line are all 28×10.5-inch tires with changes made largely to the traction compound.
“There are certain sizes that are popular with the 28×10.5 being the most popular, so we developed three new specs for racers running that size. The constructions are similar to other ET products, the differences are in the compounds. They are a lower durometer and not something you would want to use on a well-prepped track. It can actually slow you down and/or do damage to the compound.”
The 28×10.5-15 L4 tire (PN 30554) features a soft compound for lighter vehicles (Under 2,800 lbs.) and poor track conditions.
“The L4 compound is very soft and used to be used in the sport compact arena,” Moulton notes. “On good track prep, it’s a little bit overkill. It provides enough traction at surface, while providing the construction to ensure that the tire stays round.”
Moulton also notes that, as track conditions improve and/or horsepower goes up, you can move to the stiffer sidewall and/or harder compounds.
“The more horsepower, the more weight, the stiffer you want the sidewall,” Moulton says.
The next tire in the lineup is the 28×10.5-15 L8 (PN 30558), which features a slightly harder compound compared to the L4. According to Mickey Thompson, this option is better suited to middle-weight vehicles and “semi-difficult track conditions.”
The third option currently offered is the 28×10.5-15S L8 (PN 30559). This tire offers a stiff sidewall that is more suitable for heavier vehicles.
Moulton told us that Mickey Thompson may expand the Limited Traction tire line as needed, and that the company has many other products coming out, as well.