Engines roar. Cars whizz past in a blink of an eye. Adrenaline pulses through the veins of drivers as they make their way passed the checkered flag. That’s race day, and it’s awesome. And whether it’s in NASCAR or at a local track, all racers rely on those four round pieces of rubber to cross the finish line. For many amateurs, they also depend on them to get back home after a day at the track. In this video, Tire Review’s David Sickels provides tips for getting into the racing segment and the tires you might need, from the Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio at Babcox Media.
As a local tire expert, tire dealers are the gatekeepers to the array of features that DOT street-legal tires hold. Knowing the right application for this type of tire and how they’re made will set you apart from other dealers in the area, giving you the opportunity to partner with local amateurs to become their personal tire provider.
You’ll likely find that the bulk of customers for track-to-street tires are typically well-researched and ready to purchase. The “first-timers” you encounter are normally those that just did their first track day or competition on their OE/all-season tires and found the limits, so they’re looking for upgrade.
As the tire expert, it helps to know what kind of racing the customer is doing. For example, some tires will heat up quicker, and these are generally better for autocross, while others can take numerous heat cycles, better for repeated days of track use.
Also keep in mind that sanctioning bodies have rules regarding UTQG, tread depth, number of rim diameters in the tread and section width, to name a few. Be sure you’re familiar with rules like these if you’re helping the customer find the right fit.
If you’re really interested in getting started in this segment, the best thing you can do is to attend local amateur events to see what vehicles and tire sizes are competing in your area.
Amateur racing tends very inclusive, and they’ll welcome someone like you. Also, these enthusiasts likely have more than one vehicle and make good quality maintenance a priority, all of which provide business opportunities for a dealer.
Dealers should also recognize that track-to-street tires are niche products that compete in the market based on performance, and this means they’ll typically carry higher margins over more mainstream products that compete on price. Because of their need for track performance, these tires usually get replaced more often as well.