One (Hard) Lap for Tires: The Final Results

Facebook Icon See event photos on Facebook!

2017 Tire Rack One Lap of America
Competitors line up to roll onto the Tire Rack test track to kick off the 2017 Tire Rack One Lap of America.

The Tire Rack One Lap of America competition can best be classified as a marathon, and not a sprint. Figurative and literal pace and stamina are what win the week, as teams race in 17 competitive events linked by over 3,400 road transit miles in just eight days. Spring racetrack events, drag racing, an autocross and two skidpad challenges add the spice of diversity to the skills needed.

To win you must be fast in every competitive event, but to finish first you must first finish.

Most teams leave nothing to chance, spending countless hours (and often road trip miles) in the months ahead doing recon on the tracks they will race on during the week-long event. All of the cars that compete are road-legal, but underneath the standard exterior are engines and chassis that are heavily modified. Smart tire choices by the teams to perfectly match how and what they are driving complete the package they bring to the event in hopes of on-track success and the glory of winning the event.

Not everything always goes as planned, and for a few teams, mechanical failures left them sidelined and out of competition as the miles added up. Several teams encountered engine trouble early in the week, but were able to perform rebuilds along the way and catch back up to the pack later in the week.

(Smart) Tire Choices

With 13 different tire brands and dozens of options for teams to choose from, there is no single tire that works best for every team, driver, car and type of event. So, teams pick what they think will work best for how, where and what they drive.

One Lap of America begins and ends on the test track at Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend, Indiana with the Skidpad Challenge. The Skidpad Challenge appears simple, with competitors driving as fast as they can around the circle of pavement and hanging on while going around as fast as they can. Sliding wide or spinning out is the automotive equivalent of falling off. Compared to many of the race tracks teams will face during the event, the driving challenge on the skidpad is minimal, placing emphasis on vehicle set-up around the performance envelope of the tires it rides on.

To make things a little more interesting, the starting event is always wet, when tires are still at their best, with the finish run in the dry on whatever is left after the full week of competitions and road miles.

Event START – Wet Skidpad Challenge
Wet Skidpad Challenge Top Finisher

Like nearly every year, weather on start day was cool and windy, with a strong cold wind blowing in from the north. Tires never warmed up to optimum tread temperature, and for some felt skittish on the cold, wet track.

Also like most years, just over half the field chose to compete on Michelin tires, with the overall wet skidpad leader and eight of the top ten cars riding on the brand. The Ford Focus RS of Matt Hubbard and Bob Murray used Michelin’s new Pilot Sport 4S tires to lead the field, generating 0.823 lateral g-forces in the wet. Hugh Bate drove his Nissan GT-R on Pilot Sport 4S tires to 2nd place overall, with Chuck Veth in a Porsche GT3 RS riding on Continental’s new ExtremeContact Sport in 3rd.

A look down the overall wet skidpad results shows the relative wet performance advantage of tires in the Max Performance Summer category, with this group taking the first 26 positions. Tires in the Extreme Performance category focus much more on ultimate dry performance, and just don’t have the wet weather traction to keep pace with Max Performance tires. But the Dry Skidpad Challenge awaits at the end of the event, where Extreme Performance Summer tires would get their due.

Wet Skidpad Challenge Top 10 Finishers
Class Car No. Vehicle / Tires Wet g-Force
Mid-Priced Sedan Stock Touring 54 2017 Ford Focus RS
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.823
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 6 2013 Chariots of Palm Beach GTR
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.808
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 10 2016 Porsche Rear Engine
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
0.799
Mid-Priced Sedan 57 2016 Ford Focus RS
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.789
Sports GT-1 Big Bore Stock GT 14 2016 Nissan GT-R
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.779
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 2 2010 Nissan GT-R
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
0.775
Sports GT-1 Big Bore Stock GT 27 2014 Cheverolet Camaro Z/28
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.773
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 5 2013 Datsun GT-R
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.765
Sports GT-1 Big Bore Stock GT 20 2006 Porsche 911 S
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.761
Sports GT-2 Big Bore 41 2014 Cheverolet Camaro 1LE
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
0.760
Event FINISH – Dry Skidpad Challenge
Dry Skidpad Challenge Top Finisher

From a weather perspective, it’s amazing what a difference a week can make. The day dawned clear, calm and warm with plenty of sunshine. Christopher Lewis took full advantage of the ideal conditions, driving his Chevrolet C7 Corvette with BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S tires to an impressive 1.106g around the dry skidpad. Hugh Bate in his Nissan GT-R on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires was again 2nd overall, with Bob Knoerzer and his Nissan GT-R on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires rounding out the top three finishers. Cars riding on Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires landed in 4th and 8th, with Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08R tires in 6th place overall.

Dry Skidpad Challenge Top 10 Finishers
Class Car No. Vehicle / Tires Dry g-Force
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 7 2015 Cheverolet Vette
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S
1.106
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 6 2013 Chariots of Palm Beach GTR
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
1.101
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 5 2013 Datsun GT-R
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
1.098
Mid-Priced Sedan 4 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX
Falken Azenis RT615K+
1.093
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 9 2012 Porsche 911
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
1.085
Special Construction 3 2014 Ariel Atom OLOA Special
Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R
1.082
Sports GT-1 Big Bore Stock GT 27 2014 Cheverolet Camaro Z/28
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
1.058
Sports GT-2 Big Bore 34 2017 Ford Mustang
Falken Azenis RT615K+
1.045
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 8 2008 Dodge Viper
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
1.036
Sports GT-2 Small Bore 59 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
1.032
Overall Results
Overall Class Winners
There is more than one way to conquer the Tire Rack One Lap of America. Top finishers drove very different cars on different tires.

One thing One Lap of America isn’t, is a spec class. Beyond the Nissan GT-R being the dominant (but not only) starting point for many of the top finishers, one look through the results reveals there are many different cars, vehicle classes and tires, along with hardcore veterans and first-time lap puppies that lead the field as a whole.

You may have an exotic supercar. You may have a fresh-off-the-showroom-floor performance car, or a home-built track toy. You may drive a diesel-powered car, or a hybrid, economy car or luxury road warrior. If you love to drive, want to compete, and are looking for a challenge like no other, then look no further than next year’s Tire Rack One Lap of America. We hope to see you then.

Overall Class Winners
Overall Class Car No. Vehicle / Tires
1
Sports GT-1 Big Bore 6 2013 Chariots of Palm Beach GTR
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
2 Special Construction 3 2014 Ariel Atom OLOA Special
Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R
3 Luxury Sedan Stock Touring 11 2017 BMW M3 Competition Package
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
4 Sports GT-2 Big Bore 34 2017 Ford Mustang
Falken Azenis RT615K+
5 Sports GT-1 Small Bore 42 2003 BMW M3
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
6 Sports GT-2 Small Bore 18 2011 BMW 1M
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
7 Mid-Priced Sedan Stock Touring 54 2017 Ford Focus RS
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
8 Vintage Foreign 51 1986 PoorVette 948
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S
9 Vintage American 61 1984 Cheverolet C-4 Corvette "The Dude"
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S
10 Economy 55 2015 Ford Fiesta ST
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
11 Retro Stock Touring 47 2010 Cheverolet HHR SS
Michelin Pilot Sport PS2
12 Alternative Fuel 75 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup
Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec