Today I’m going to be writing about the Kumho Ecsta V710‘s. The Kumho Ecsta V710 is an excellent race compound tire, known most prominently in the autocross world. Last year I took the plunge myself, and finally picked up a set.
Let me start by saying that these tires aren’t for the feint at heart. When buying these, you don’t think about if you need them or not. They’re designed for people who know they need them. (racing, competition, etc) At the beginning of the 2008 autocross season, I decided to convert my 2007 STi into a BSP prepped car. A common setup in BSP is wide wheels, paired up with race compound tires, also known as “r-comps” for short. The SCCA rulebook states that cars in the Street Prepared class are allowed to run DOT-legal race tires. Therefore, they can technically be driven on the street. (and yes, it’s fun!)
The two big race tire names in autocross are Kumho and Hoosier. Kumho offers the V710, while Hoosier offers the A5. Both brands and models can be found on all types of different cars throughout the grid areas. The general run-down for comparison is as follows:
Kumho – Longer life, more durable, less costly
Hoosier – Higher overall grip, more costly, lower tire life
When it came time for me to choose which brand to go with, I weighed out the pro’s and con’s of each, and thought about things for about a week. I’d been told by many to go with the Kumho’s, as they’re known to be friendlier for first-time race tire owners. (lower cost, more life, etc) Therefore, I ended up ordering a set of Kumho V710‘s from TireRack, and they shortly arrived a few days later. (Did I mention that TireRack has some of the fastest shipping that I’ve ever seen?)
After receiving the tires, I quickly had them mounted up onto my race wheels; a set of 17×10 +35mm 5Zigen FN01R-C’s. This setup would soon produce incredible amounts of grip.
My first event arrived a few week later, and what do you know? Rain!. I figured what the heck, I’d been waiting for weeks to try them out, so I put them on anyways. That day went quite interesting. Let’s just say brand new race tires on a wet course isn’t the slickest idea. (No pun intended!)
I had another event 1 week after my 1st, and thankfully it was dry this time. It was also very hot that day, which is beneficial for race tires, as it allows you to keep their temperatures up. Tires of this nature operate much more effectively when warm; and it’s certainly very noticeable when they cool off. The event that day went very well, and I managed to pull off 2nd place in my class. (BSP)
One thing that you notice straight away is the noise. Race tires are silent. There’s no more crazy screeching noises coming from the tires. They just grip, and that’s it.
Not only do they create a ton of grip, but they also induce the driver with an enormous amount of confidence. I found myself rapidly dropping my times each run, consistently throughout the day. Things only got better as the day went on, and I grew more accustomed to my new setup. I’ve read that people say race tires are worth about 2 seconds on the autocross course. I’m going to partially agree, in the sense that they definitely lower times, but I think it’s more in the range of 4 seconds.
Overall, the Kumho Ecsta V710 is an excellent autocross tire. I have still yet to try out the Hoosier A5′s, but from where I am today, I can’t find myself wanting anymore. I personally feel that the Kumho V710 offers all that I’m looking for, and I can’t see them getting any better than they already are.
Interesting in picking up a set? Check out the Kumho Ecsta V710 at TireRack today!