Top 10 Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

Some people might prefer twisty roads, but there is still something very exciting about drag racing. Pushing your car to the max in a straight line might seem easy, and it is. However, posting great times is certainly not – it requires years of drag racing and expertise. In other words, it’s very easy to learn, but very, very hard to master.

Learning how to accelerate properly is only half of the story, though. If you want to be considered the quickest, you need to have a powerful and light vehicle. The most important thing for drag racing, though, is the tires. Without a good set of tires, you can say goodbye to posting great results on a drag strip.

You can have the most powerful sports car in the world, but you will still need a way to put the power on the ground properly. If the tires aren’t capable of doing that, you will experience wheel spins and lose time. Simply put, a very powerful sports car with bad tires will be slower than a medium-fast car with excellent tires.

The thing is, though, the best drag tires aren’t usable on the road. Professional drag-racing drivers use tires that are designed for maximum traction during hard acceleration, which is great if you want to post the shortest time. However, these tires don’t have a very good grip in the corners, and they won’t work at all in rainy conditions, which is why you can’t use them on the road at all.

Fortunately, there are many street drag tires to choose from available today. These products aren’t necessarily designed for drag purposes only, so you should expect slightly worse results than professional drag tires. Nevertheless, these tires are completely usable on the road, even in the rain. Moreover, they provide the driver with an outstanding grip in the corners, which makes them usable for other types of driving.

The best street drag tires should provide you with excellent traction, which is very beneficial during hard accelerations. On top of that, these tires should be completely usable on the street and they should be DOT-approved for use on public roads. In the end, the street drag tires you buy should also be strong and durable, especially during very hard acceleration runs.

To help you find the best street tires for drag racing, we created a carefully-selected list of the best performance tires on the market. These tires share many things in common, including outstanding traction, excellent grip, and exceptional high-speed stability.

Furthermore, we will also provide you with a detailed buying guide on performance tires and drag racing tires. There, you will be able to read about all the advantages and disadvantages of various types of performance tires, so you can find one that suits you best. We recommend reading through that section if you’re new to performance tires, and especially if you’re overwhelmed by all of the options.

1. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R

Best Extreme-Performance Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Potenza RE-71R is one of the most popular tires among car enthusiasts, including street drag racing drivers, and for a good reason.

In a straight line, the Potenza RE-71R will provide you with the best traction in the extreme-performance tire category. Moreover, the tire is outstanding in the corners and provides excellent steering feel. As expected, high-speed stability is outstanding.

Unlike other tires in the category, the Potenza also works over a wet tarmac. That said, the RE-71R is also expensive, but that’s something that we’ve come to expect from a Bridgestone product. On the positive side, you can get the Potenza RE-71R in many sizes.

Pros

  • Best-in-class traction for drag racing
  • Outstanding grip in the corners
  • High-speed stability is exceptional
  • Fast and responsive handling
  • Controllable at the limit
  • Sublime steering feel
  • Usable in light rain conditions

Cons

  • Steep price

2. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3

Best Extreme-Performance Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 needs to a high temperature to give you the best performance, so a quick burnout is always needed.

When the Eagle comes at operating temperature, though, it becomes one of the stickiest tires we’ve tried. The traction this tire provides is simply astonishing, as is the grip in the corners.

Moreover, this is one of the best tires for steering feel and responsiveness, which makes everyday driving much more enjoyable.

Unlike many extreme-performance tires, the Eagle F1 Supercar 3 is also very usable in rainy conditions. That said, people report higher noise when the tread wears down.

Pros

  • Outstanding traction when it hits operating temperature
  • Exceptional grip in the corners
  • Razor-sharp responses
  • Easily controllable at the limit
  • Excellent steering feel
  • Works over wet surfaces

Cons

  • Noisy when worn-down
  • Need heat to perform at its best

3. Toyo Proxes R1-R

Best Extreme-Performance Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Toyo Proxes R1-R is an excellent tire for the budget-minded enthusiasts. Despite the lower price point when compared to some premium alternatives, this tire has everything you need for great acceleration.

The traction is on-par with the best tires in the category, giving you extra confidence to push hard in the quarter-mile. The Proxes R1-R works outstandingly well in the corners as well, providing the driver with excellent grip, sharp responses, and outstanding steering feel.

The Proxes R1-R is surprisingly useful on wet pavement as well, but sadly it suffers in the ride quality department.

Pros

  • Supremely responsive
  • Excellent steering feel
  • Exceptionally high level of traction
  • Outstanding grip in the corners
  • Strong braking
  • Excellent wet performance

Cons

  • Stiff ride on the road

4. Falken Azenis RT615K+

Best Extreme-Performance Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Azenis RT615K+ is another excellent extreme-performance tire for drag-racing enthusiasts that don’t want to spend a lot of cash on tires, yet want to have dependable product when they hit the quarter-mile.

This tire will provide you with outstanding straight-line traction, especially when you hit the operating temperature. Driving through the corners is also a joy thanks to the excellent responsiveness and precise steering feel.

That being said, the Azenis RT615K+ isn’t the best choice for driving over very wet surfaces.

Pros

  • Mind-blowing responsiveness
  • Very high levels of grip and traction
  • Controllable on the limit
  • DOT-approved for use on the road

Cons

  • Wet traction could be better

5. BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S 1.5

Best Extreme-Performance Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The g-Force Rival S 1.5 might be the best extreme-performance tire for straight-line traction, and it is also not very expensive. Sadly, though, it isn’t available in many sizes, which limits its appeal.

If you can find a size that suits your vehicle, though, we suggest going for one. The g-Force Rival S 1.5 provides truly exceptional traction, which will help you achieve outstanding quarter-mile times.

The tire also performs outstandingly well in the corners, delivering excellent grip and very good steering feel.

Pros

  • Outstanding straight-line traction
  • Exceptional grip in the corners
  • Outstanding high-speed stability
  • Easily controllable at the limit

Cons

  • Not available in many sizes

6. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R

Best Streetable Track & Competition Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R is the bread and butter track tire among many car enthusiasts worldwide.

Sure, the tire is expensive, but it can truly change how your car behaves, even on a drag strip. The level of traction you will get with this tire is remarkable.

As expected, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 R also provides superior high-speed stability and superb grip in the corners.

Nevertheless, this tire won’t serve you well in rainy conditions, especially over large puddles of water.

Pros

  • Remarkable traction
  • Superior stability
  • Superb grip in the corners
  • Impressive steering feel

Cons

  • Not usable in rainy conditions

7. Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R

Best Streetable Track & Competition Tires for Drag Racing

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The P Zero Trofeo R is another tire that’s extremely popular among car enthusiasts around the world, including drag racers.

From its exceptional straight-line traction to the outstanding stability, this tire will give you all the tools you need for great quarter-mile times.

Moreover, the tire works outstandingly well in the corners, providing you with a remarkable grip and precise steering feel.

That being said, the Zero Trofeo R isn’t at its best when it rains.

Pros

  • Exceptional traction during hard acceleration
  • Superb straight-line stability
  • Impressive grip in the corners
  • Excellent responsiveness and steering feel

Cons

  • Not usable in rainy conditions

8. Hoosier D.O.T. Drag Radial 2

Best D.O.T Drag Racing Radials

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

Right now, there is no better street drag tire than the Hoosier Drag Radial 2. With a set of these tires on the driven wheels, you will be as competitive as it gets on a drag strip.

That said, be prepared for low cornering grip and abysmal wet performance. In other words, when you use this tire on the street, you should be extremely careful and drive as slowly as you can, especially in the corners.

Pros

  • Best-in-class drag racing traction
  • Outstanding stability in a straight line

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not really usable on the street
  • Cornering grip is below average
  • Doesn’t work on wet pavement

9. Toyo Proxes TQ

Best D.O.T Drag Racing Radials

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Toyo Proxes TQ is another drag tire that also works on the street. Compared to the Hoosier, the Proxes works better in the corners and is surprisingly useful for street driving, primarily thanks to the tread pattern.

That said, while the traction it provides is truly exceptional, it’s still worse than what you’d get from the Hoosier Drag Radial 2. Still, if you aren’t racing professionally, the Proxes TQ offers perhaps the best drag-racing performance for a street-approved tire.

Pros

  • Exceptional drag racing traction
  • Usable for street driving
  • Surprisingly good grip in the corners

Cons

  • Not usable over extremely wet surfaces

10. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Drag Racing and Street

Best Street Tires for Drag Racing

The Pilot Sport 4S isn’t built for drag racing, but it still possesses many qualities that make it useful for that sport.

One of those qualities is the exceptional traction, which is almost as good as some extreme-performance tires.

Moreover, this is the best street tire on this list – it handles outstandingly well in dry and wet conditions. Oh, and Michelin also offers a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty, something that no other manufacturer does in the performance category.

Pros

  • Outstanding handling ability
  • Exceptional grip and traction
  • Excellent high-speed stability
  • Very good wet traction and braking
  • Excellent 30,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • Pricey

Buying Guide for Best Street Tires for Drag Racing in 2020

1. Difference Between Summer and All-Season Tires (Advantages and Disadvantages)

The first thing that you need to decide when choosing new performance tires is the weather compound. Today, you can find summer, all-season, and even winter performance tires. However, in reality, only summer tires work very well for drag racing. Let’s elaborate and see why summer tires should always be your choice for performance.

All-Season Tires are Only Good for the Street 

Even though enthusiasts might not like them, there is nothing wrong with all-season tires. For the majority of people, these tires offer safe handling, high levels of traction and grip, and very good highway stability. 

Moreover, all-season tires work in most weather conditions, including freezing and scorching hot temperatures, and over rain and light snow. This means that you can use only one set of tires in most places on earth, which is very cost-effective.

On that note, all-season tires also last very, very long. The tread compound of these tires is made of durable rubber that doesn’t wear very fast, especially when driven on the street. As a result of that, even some all-season ultra-high-performance tires come with a 50,000 to 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is certainly impressive.

With that said, the tread compound of all-season tires is pretty hard. This helps with durability but hurts performance. A lot. Even the mightiest all-season performance tires won’t give you enough traction on a drag strip, let alone high grip in the corners. They are fine for the street, but not good enough for racing purposes.

So, there you have it. If you thought about installing all-season tires on a vehicle that you prepare for drag racing, think again. We strongly recommend going for all-season tires only if you drive your vehicle on the street, where these tires are at their best. Anything competitive should be out of the question!

Summer Tires Will Give You Far Better Traction 

That tread compound that we mentioned in all-season tires is completely different in summer tires. Instead of a long-wearing rubber, the compound in summer tires is designed for performance. You can call it sticky and you won’t be far from the truth. 

The sticky nature of the summer tread compound helps immensely on drag strips. With a set of summer tires, your vehicle will put the power down much easier and without a lot of wheel slip. You will immediately cut some precious seconds from your quarter-mile time.

Summer tires are outstanding on the street as well. For performance cars, we still prefer a set of summer tires, simply because they are much more responsive, offer outstanding levels of grip and traction, and exceptional high-speed stability. And, even though many people think otherwise, summer tires work better in rainy conditions, especially on damp roads.

That being said, summer tires won’t work in freezing temperatures. In fact, they might get easily damaged if used or stored in temperatures that fall below the freezing point. Furthermore, summer tires wear much faster than all-season tires, which means that they are much less cost-effective in the long run. Finally, summer tires are also much more expensive to buy.

Honestly, though, if you want strong acceleration on a drag strip, summer tires are the only choice. Sure, you need to live with their downsides as well, but they are a small price to pay for achieving that outstanding quarter-mile time.

2. Different Types of Street Performance Tires 

Apart from the weather compound, performance tires differentiate in other things as well. Some of them are focused on street driving, like high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires. These tires will work on a drag strip as well, but not as successfully as other performance tires.

Max-performance tires, on the other hand, try to offer excellent street performance with usable track and drag traction. Extreme-performance tires get everything up a notch and offer much better traction and grip on racing tracks. Streetable track & competition tires are even more track-focused.

Moreover, there are also specialized racing and autocross-only tires and specialized drag tires. These tires are designed only for use on the track or drag strip. In other words, these tires aren’t DOT-approved, which means that they aren’t legal for use on the street.

Also, they don’t have enough tread pattern for use in rainy conditions, where they are less useful than even some cheap all-season tires.

But, let’s dig into more detail and see which type of street performance tires will work best for drag racing.

High-Performance and Ultra-High-Performance Tires 

These tires are designed to offer the driver a better feel through the steering wheel and more responsive handling. Moreover, they also provide the driver with much better traction and grip when compared to normal “touring” tires, and much better high-speed stability. 

With that said, while these tires can certainly be used on the track, they shouldn’t be your choice for drag racing. The tread compound and tread pattern on these tires are designed for safe handling on public roads, including driving over dry and wet surfaces.

Max-Performance Tires 

These tires are the favorite among car enthusiasts that mostly drive on the street, but want a dependable option for track days. Max-performance tires offer outstanding traction during hard acceleration, exceptional grip in the corners, strong braking, and outstanding high-speed stability. Also, these tires are supremely responsive and offer outstanding steering feel. 

That being said, if you mostly use your vehicle on the track or the drag strip, there are better options than max-performance tires. That is especially true if you want to achieve the best possible quarter-mile times with your vehicle.

Extreme-Performance Tires 

These tires are an outstanding option for drivers that want to achieve outstanding quarter-mile times, but also want tires that will be dependable and useful on the street. Extreme-performance tires offer exceptional traction for hard acceleration, which makes them very useful on a drag strip. 

Moreover, extreme-performance tires work exceptionally well on the street, even when it rains. For that reason, these tires offer the best combination of drag and street performance. Therefore, our list mostly consists of extreme-performance tires.

Streetable Track & Competition Tires 

These tires offer the best traction for hard accelerations apart from specialized drag tires. With a set of streetable track tires, you will experience much less wheel spin when you hit the gas, which will improve the quarter-mile times. 

That being said, these tires are only average for street driving. They are outstanding over a dry pavement, obviously, but not very useful for driving in heavy rain. Due to the minimal tread pattern, streetable track tires don’t offer good hydroplaning resistance and might be even dangerous to drive in very heavy rain.

D.O.T. Drag Racing Radials 

For real drag enthusiasts, some drag-focused options on the market will still work on the street. These tires are D.O.T. approved, which means that they are legal for street driving.

Moreover, drag racing radial tires will provide you with by far the best traction for hard acceleration runs. With a set of these tires on the driven wheels, you will experience almost no wheel spin when you hit the gas.

However, the street performance of these tires is far from stellar. First of all, they are only designed for straight-line acceleration, not for cornering. Therefore, you should be driving carefully on a twisty road.

Also, when drag racing tires aren’t at their operating temperature, which happens when driving on the street, a big drop in performance will occur.

Furthermore, these tires are almost unusable in heavy rain. Due to the almost non-existent tread, drag racing radials don’t offer any resistance to hydroplaning, which makes them dangerous for driving over big puddles of water.

Final Words 

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur driver, you can improve your drag racing results by a significant margin with the right tires. And, each model listed in this article will give you excellent traction in a straight line, that’s for sure. 

Nevertheless, you should always purchase tires that will fit your needs. There is no single tire in the world that will work best for everybody. Some tires are better for the street, others are better for the drag strip. That’s why we leave the final decision to you.

And, whatever choice you make, be sure to shift at the right time. Have fun!

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