Pirello to Bridgestone (review)

Jo Rhett jorhett at fastlizardracing.com
Mon Aug 18 23:32:03 PDT 2008

So Friday at Infineon was just me having fun, as I wasn't going to  
race that weekend.  All morning I was having trouble lighting up the  
rear, nice fun slides out of every fast corner - 2, 3, 3a, 4, bottom  
of the Carousel, you name it.  Not surprising given that I had 3 race  
days, 4 practice days and 3 track days on the set of tires.

At lunch I replaced the soft/soft Pirellis with soft/medium  
Bridgestones just to have some fun.  I've got 5 trackdays before the  
final WERA race, so why not fart around and see how I like the tires?

I actually dropped out of the A Race group figuring that switching  
tire brands would slow me up for the rest of the day.  I went out  
behind a moderately fast guy to pace myself and not get stupid, but  
felt so good I passed him entering the Carousel and never saw him  
again.  My 4th lap on the new tires was 2/10ths of a second faster  
than I did on the Pirellis all morning (as well as all succeeding laps).

First impressions:

* the profile is different, and my first thought was that the tires  
actually "rolled better".   Especially on corner exit, the bike seemed  
to be moving faster right away.

* On corner entry the tires held awesome and solid.  I really had to  
work to get the front to push, and I never successfully spun up the  

* Just like the Pirellis, once I had turned in the bike was stable and  
solid, completely reassuring.

However, it wasn't all good. My perfect suspension from the morning  
was gone.

* The bike seesawed mid-corner (fixed by adding rebound to the front  
and taking some out of the rear)

* The front under shuddered under hard braking, fixed by adding  
rebound to the front but it came back as soon as I went faster again.

* The tires exhibit the Dunlop "drift".   Unless you push the front, a  
Pirelli will exit the corner *exactly* where you think it should.  The  
Bridgestones exhibit the Dunlop Drift where you find yourself just a  
foot wider than you expected exiting the corner, but you didn't push  
the front.  The whole bike just ... drifts a bit.  I hated this on the  
Dunlops (which is why I went to Pirelli in the first place) but this  
appears to be evident in the Bridgestones too.  *shrug* For now I'm  
just riding it.

Next stop: Miller Motorsports Park, Utah.  I'm returning after a  
fairly successful weekend on Pirellis there, we'll see how the Batlax  
holds up.

Jo Rhett /  velociRaptor Racing
#553 WERA / AFM

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