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Toyo Tire Shortage... What to do.


marshallmosty

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D Algozine

I realize this is a difficult situation for NASA, but I think they should have done some research and had discussions with a few manufacturers, then decided on one or maybe two specific tires to use as substitutes. Ideally, as close to RA1's as possible. For all I know this may have happened, but leaving it wide open may be messy. The two most important factors on keeping a level playing field in AI was the HP to weight and the spec tires. Well no more spec tire, as least for now, so I think it's going to get convoluted. I see a possible tire war, instead of a racers series. I hope I'm wrong.

Those who already have a few sets of RA1's will be at a disadvantage. RA1's were a great equalizer. Now a new set of Hoosiers or BFg's or Goodyears or ???... will most likely be better. So, spending to keep new rubber under the car will be a big advantage. In the past it wasn't that much of an advantage.

 

I also see track records falling like crazy. Will new records get an " * ", just like major league baseball should have for juiced up guys hitting record breaking home runs.

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I hope this is a temporary situation and the production/distribution of the Japanese made Toyo RA-1 will be back in full supply (maybe by August/September?). Then NASA just has to allow the current legal tire of choice until the end of the year.

 

My concerns are what will NASA do for Nationals, which is highly scrutinized, and racers argue over every last bit of advantage.

 

I agree with D Algozine, any records broken will need to have an *, unless done with a Toyo RA-1.

 

My heart and thoughts go out to the people of Japan, as they had another 7.4 aftershock/quake.

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robbodleimages

as long as the primary plan is toyo spec tires, the suspension of those rules should be noted and any track records on the alternate tire should be held in reserve and not applied. if nasa decides or is forced to make this suspension more permanant, then those records could become applicable.

 

i think it has to be considered that a change was coming anyway. the tire shortage in AI sizes predated the disaster in Japan. we have no way of knowing how that was going to be resolved.

 

further it could be that in their new reality that toyo may not be interested in or able to continue their support of nasa. their contigency program had already dwindled to a questionable level.

 

So, it could be that things are just changing and we need to be prepared for what ever possibility takes hold. I would take this opportunity to try some tires. There aer a number of good brands to try. See what you like and what fits your driving.

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Here's a thought...

 

Why don't we as a group (nationally) decide on a weight penalty for anyone who runs a tire other than a Toyo? Say 50 lbs or so? All the directors could get together with Todd to determine what weight penalty would be fair. This would make the playing field a little more even and help all of us who already have Toyo's. The chatter I'm hearing is that everyone is thinking that they have to now go out and buy Hoosiers in order to be competitive. We could even go so far as altering the weight penalty amount based on particular tires but I think that would get too messy, take too much time, and require data quickly that we don't have. Thoughts?

 

Ed

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Grizlbits
Here's a thought...

 

Why don't we as a group (nationally) decide on a weight penalty for anyone who runs a tire other than a Toyo? Say 50 lbs or so? All the directors could get together with Todd to determine what weight penalty would be fair. This would make the playing field a little more even and help all of us who already have Toyo's. The chatter I'm hearing is that everyone is thinking that they have to now go out and buy Hoosiers in order to be competitive. We could even go so far as altering the weight penalty amount based on particular tires but I think that would get too messy, take too much time, and require data quickly that we don't have. Thoughts?

 

Ed

 

I was thinking that the tires other than spec have to be 1" narrower 245's vs 275's for instance - just a thought.

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brucebyerly
I realize this is a difficult situation for NASA, but I think they should have done some research and had discussions with a few manufacturers, then decided on one or maybe two specific tires to use as substitutes. Ideally, as close to RA1's as possible. For all I know this may have happened, but leaving it wide open may be messy. The two most important factors on keeping a level playing field in AI was the HP to weight and the spec tires. Well no more spec tire, as least for now, so I think it's going to get convoluted. I see a possible tire war, instead of a racers series. I hope I'm wrong.

Those who already have a few sets of RA1's will be at a disadvantage. RA1's were a great equalizer. Now a new set of Hoosiers or BFg's or Goodyears or ???... will most likely be better. So, spending to keep new rubber under the car will be a big advantage. In the past it wasn't that much of an advantage.

 

I also see track records falling like crazy. Will new records get an " * ", just like major league baseball should have for juiced up guys hitting record breaking home runs.

 

I totally agree. If I choose to run, I feel my tire cost just tripled.

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robbodleimages

245's would be a bit narrow for the wheel, i'd think. 275 is the recommended size for the wheels. of course if there are going to be these kind of changes to even the field then the track records go back up for grabs.

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marshallmosty

I'd love to see something from NASA talking about the long term plan for this...

 

1. WILL the Toyo as a spec tire go away in 2012?

2. Was #1 even on the table prior to the issues in Japan?

3. What happens to Toyo bucks that are due to expire?

4. What about season-end regional Toyo contingency which was based on everyone running Toyo's?

 

#3 and 4 are really moot if we go to a different spec tire.

 

I'd like to know if we are going to switch spec tires so I can at least start using a tire that I can use a contingency to pay for (Hoosier). I really don't want to run Hoosiers, as I have enough RA1's to last another 2-3 weekends if I play my cards right.

 

 

Where is Todd? Why have we just had a couple of very high level announcements from NASA but nothing from American Iron leadership? No "hey guys here is what we're looking at", "director's cut", nada, zip, zero. Todd, are you listening? The racers are pleeding for some direction, information, ANYTHING!!!!! I know I have your cell number, but would rather have whatever we would have talked about put out on the internet for everyone.

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robbodleimages

its just a guess, but i'd say that all of that is completely up in the air. the ai size availability issues came as a complete surprise to the national people. they obviously didnt get a heads up from toyo. i suppose that if the stock issues were rezolved as toyo claimed, there would have been no changes. nasa would have had to wait that out to see.

 

the disaster changes the dynamics potentially. as its a fresh situation i would have to guess that toyo is in no position to make any commitments right now. with the economy the way it is you could also see that other manufacturors are not lining up to replace the toyo revenue stream.

 

nasa gets paid to create a spec tire condition and guarantee require that purchase for participants. if hoosier isnt interested in paying because they figure to get the business anyway and bfg or goodyear doesn't have the budget to bring the cash, i doubt seriously that nasa chooses a winner without benefit.

 

if you base the spec tire choice purely on contigency awards, toyo is no longer competitive anyway. hoosier has held its values. from what ive seen goodyear's contingecy program is identical to the hoosier plan.

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Here's a thought...

 

Why don't we as a group (nationally) decide on a weight penalty for anyone who runs a tire other than a Toyo? Say 50 lbs or so? All the directors could get together with Todd to determine what weight penalty would be fair. This would make the playing field a little more even and help all of us who already have Toyo's. The chatter I'm hearing is that everyone is thinking that they have to now go out and buy Hoosiers in order to be competitive. We could even go so far as altering the weight penalty amount based on particular tires but I think that would get too messy, take too much time, and require data quickly that we don't have. Thoughts?

 

Ed

 

I really like the idea of a 100lb weight penalty for any tire other than the Toyo.....

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robbodleimages

how about a 100lb weight break for toyo cars? that way as the toyos run out and the majority of the cars wont be carrying extra weight. i'd rather make a car easier to stop than make one harder to stop.

 

you know?

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I FULLY support the weight penalty/weight break idea for the time being, while some of us will still be on Toyo's. I'm nursing my 5 weekend old RA1's because I can't afford new ones every few races; much less the more expensive Hoosiers just to stay competitive!

 

That said, the Hoosier contingency is very attractive. Thinking ahead for 2012, the Hoosier's seem to fit the bill for our new spec tire on multiple levels...

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Wow...never fails...leave for a week on business and the world changes around you! The tire situation just stinks, there's no way around it, but we (as a series) will make lemonade out of lemons! (No pun intended to the crap-can racing series.) Here's what I know and where we are going...

 

PAST

1) The Toyo issue started with the supply problem in January and obviously got even worse after the tragic events in Japan.

2) We, as AI, are only 1 of many NASA series who run on Toyos. As such, NASA HQ has taken the lead on discussions/direction with Toyo (and this tire dilemna), and have done a great job of keeping me informed along the way. I haven't been able to pass much on, as up until Wednesday, it has largely been a work in progress. Trust in knowing that NASA knows what we want...

3) NASA has been, and continues to work this issue aggressively. This includes taking the matter up directly with Toyo to the highest levels, as well as reaching out to other tire makers such as BFG, Hoosier and others for help.

4) In working the issue, JWL has an EXACT U.S. inventory of RA1's in all series sizes and this knowledge led to the decision to open up tires in certain classes only. (If you need help, he can tell you which tires are where.) Bottom line...only the classes that NEEDED to break from the Spec Toyo, did so, for the reason that there would not be enough to complete the season. It's not something we wanted to do. We love the balance of price, durability and grip of the Toyo RA1...anything else is a compromise to something.

5) However, it is my understanding that Toyo will still honor ToyoBucks for new tires they have available. I would continue to abide by the terms of the regional contingency awards, as I have not heard of any changes to that to date. (Remember...there are still many classes on RA1's and folks on the NASA forums who need RA1's.)

6) Toyo National Championship contingencies will be announced, as always, prior to the event.

 

PRESENT

While no-one likes to be forced into a situation like this, on the bright side, it will become a nationwide NASA test-bed of information as to which tire truly is best for our series!!!

 

Let me make this abundantly clear. AMERICAN IRON IS A SPEC TIRE CLASS. This situation of opening up the tires to many brands prior to the National Championships will assist us in selecting the next tire for the future!

 

Based on the information NASA has right now, WE BELIEVE, Toyo is striving to have enough stock in place for the National Championships at Mid-Ohio come September. The 2011 American Iron Champion will be decided by the winner of the race with a field of drivers on a spec tire. Due to the generous National Championship contingency program, we certainly hope that Toyo is able to fulfill that. Later this summer, we should know more and adjust accordingly as to what the spec tire will be for the National Championships.

 

Any track records obtained by tires other than Toyo, will get an asterisk along with the open tire used. Asterisk (*) Track records will be a temporary problem. If we return to Toyo RA1's, the asterisk records will go away. If we move to a new spec tire, only the spec tire track record is allowed to stand.

 

FUTURE

2012 is really up in the air. As I stated, we WILL be on a spec tire again eventually. If Toyo can fulfill their supply obligations into 2012, the RA1 will return as the spec tire for the final year before a contract re-opener for the 2013 season. (We will leave it to NASA & Toyo to contractually figure out what happens in 2012 if either side can't hold up their end of the deal.) But...If a suitable replacement tire can be had for the same cost/durability/grip, we will move to that based on many different factors (including a green light from NASA that everything is cool on the Toyo contractual front.) We've seen a lot of power plays with various pro-am road racing series where Toyo, BFG, Continental & Pirelli have been recently vying for series singularity. Who knows...maybe there is something NASA can do to help us all benefit from all this! Goodyear has historically been mainly a professional only tire in racing...maybe they can use this opportunity to break into grassroots racing!?!?

 

Regarding weight penalties or other regional agreements, I will talk to the regional AI directors and see what is on the table. Given the situation, I'm open to ideas. The preference is to remain consistent nationally, however, if regions can work things out amongst themselves until we can get this fixed, I encourage them to do so. However, my preference in order would be:

 

BEST- Work with your regional AI series director/racers to see if RA1's can still be managed as the regional spec tire. i.e.- if collectively among the 10 or so racers, you can agree to run RA1's and pool/barter to stay on RA1's, that is best. Some people have 20 tires in stock...some have -2. See if you can work it out amongst yourselves in your region to make it to the season end. We all know those RA1's can be stretched pretty thin...but nationally, there's definitely a shortage...so not every region can do this.

 

BETTER- Work with your regional AI series director to collectively agree on a single tire make for the region. If consensus can be had, having everyone on the same tire will help the competition AND with the information gathering on cost/durability/grip for the series. I will work with the regional directors to see what they decide and get the overall national picture...heck...maybe we could have one region on Hoosiers...another region on BFG...etc, etc. Lots of helpful data & feedback from each "regional tire" to decide on the National Championship spec tire or spec tire of the future!

 

GOOD- I can work with the regional AI series directors (and other experts) ASAP to collectively agree on a simple, temporary weight penalty system for various tires as suggested here. I'm sure the good folks over in ST and other consumers of such tires can help us with this, but I'd like to keep that as a last resort. I'm going to rely on my regional series directors for feedback here.

 

I'll repost this in the announcement section and try to give more regular updates as it unfolds, unwinds or becomes a more sweeter Lemonade!

 

-=- Todd Covini

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I definitely support a non Toyo weight penalty. I've got 16 new Toyos in the basement that are now useless for a win if anyone competitive is on a non toyo. So much for stocking up early and running junk last year to be in good shape for Nats this year.

 

Anyone want to buy some 18in Toyos?

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I definitely support a non Toyo weight penalty. I've got 16 new Toyos in the basement that are now useless for a win if anyone competitive is on a non toyo. So much for stocking up early and running junk last year to be in good shape for Nats this year.

 

Anyone want to buy some 18in Toyos?

 

Work with Jay Andrew in your region. This is a common situation where a few people have plenty of tires to run a couple seasons...and others have none. If you can sell some of your extra stock to others to keep your region on a spec tire, that is best for the general interest of the series!

 

If Jay determines there is enough stock in the area to get you guys to the end of your season those Toyos will be in demand!

 

Let's look after the greater good, folks.

 

-=- Todd

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Red Tornado

Lot's of great comments and just wanted to weigh in with a few thoughts.

 

- Please please please don't have my buy more different tires and then have me run toyo or other new tires come nationals. Yes 2011 will just be a weird and different year Todd and I totally agree spec tire is class goal. But for this year let's acknowledge it is crazy with random things so let's keep costs low.

 

- Weight break makes total sense and 100lbs may not be enough since we do only sprint races.

 

My fairly detailed testing of different tires now on about a 1:50 track as an average (CMP, VIR, Roebling)

- Toyo baseline

- Kumho's maybe 1 second quicker

- Hoosier R6 compound: 2.5 seconds a lap

- Hoosier A compound 3-3.5 seconds a lap but only for first 5 or so.

- Pzero slicks - 4 seconds a lap and for about 15 minutes than about A compound for rest.

 

Yes I vote for R compound or BFG's for cost and life and speed

Pzero's are amazing but pricey as I can tell you after a World Challenge weekend so may not be appropriate for the class.

 

Anyway it works out I like the thought of change and personally I hope the toyo goes away as payout stinks and the tires are way slow even though they last long and they cost more than BFG or hoosiers.

 

Thanks though in general to NASA for coming up with solutions for us that allow more of us to run.

 

Like I said many of us view AI as our home. I run in St2 because I feel I have to not because I want to. Here is to an AI only race at nationals and getting everyone out there.

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x2 Todd I think thats a hell of a good plan.Let the regions work it out.Lets start doing some tire testing add some weight if need be and find the right tire for AI that we can all agree on.When the contracts up we may have a new tire to roll on.

Since this is my first year in AI and still learning and it's just a blast to just be racing I have to say I'm pretty stoked about this and look forward to it.

 

Robert

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how about a 100lb weight break for toyo cars? that way as the toyos run out and the majority of the cars wont be carrying extra weight. i'd rather make a car easier to stop than make one harder to stop.

 

you know?

 

That doesn't really work for me since there is no real easy way for me to pull 100lbs out of the car. Yes it may be done, but currently without spending real money the car comes off the track within about 20lbs of our minimum weight with about 4 gallons of fuel. It's much easier to have people bolt in weight than it is to have people pull weight out, especially from a fox body car that is already down at 2900lbs wet.

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robbodleimages

bt, i understant you pov. let me ask a basic question. is it not safer to make cars easier to stop and handle than it is to make cars harder to stop and handle?

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bt, i understant you pov. let me ask a basic question. is it not safer to make cars easier to stop and handle than it is to make cars harder to stop and handle?

 

It's not the fault of the light cars that people build 3300-3500lb cars that can't handle another 100lbs and still stop safely throughout a race. I've run my car 150lbs overweight and the brakes were just as good.

 

People can bolt in 100lbs of lead, old brake rotors, old iron cyl. heads, etc for <$150 without a doubt.

 

Losing 100lbs when you're already 2900lbs is going to run into 4 figures in a hurry.

 

It's a cost/benefit thing. Now that it won't cost you $1500 for a set of Toyos to run with AI, you should benefit us by running a race in AI, even if you have to bolt in 100lbs to run your BFGs or Goodyears that are more then 100lbs faster then a Toyo.

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robbodleimages

i understand. i have a weight box that i can bolt on the floor. i just took it out and my ride is still a bit over weight on an empty tank.

 

upon further review, i would suggest a simple power to weight ratio adjustment for cars on the non toyo tires. right? instead of 9.5 to 1, its 9.75 to 1 on hoosiers or goodyears or whatever. i have no idea what the correct math would be to effect the required modification. or you could go the other way and allow cars on the toyos to add ponies if they wanted to.

 

we are a power to weight class and it would seem better to let each driver choose how he wants to set up his race car.

 

would you be opposed to me wanting to tune out some hp rather than add weight?

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That doesn't really work for me since there is no real easy way for me to pull 100lbs out of the car. Yes it may be done, but currently without spending real money the car comes off the track within about 20lbs of our minimum weight with about 4 gallons of fuel. It's much easier to have people bolt in weight than it is to have people pull weight out, especially from a fox body car that is already down at 2900lbs wet.

 

 

You don't have to pull out weight with a weight break, you could (I would) add power and be "illegal" (per the 9.5:1 spec) by 100 lbs.

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You don't have to pull out weight with a weight break, you could (I would) add power and be "illegal" (per the 9.5:1 spec) by 100 lbs.

 

That's fine if you have power to add. I'm wide open at my minimum weight. I've been dialing in this car for 4 years and it's right on.

 

I know this is all still up in the air. I'm just adding my two cents to be sure we're thinking through about how to adjust the performance.

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marshallmosty
You don't have to pull out weight with a weight break, you could (I would) add power and be "illegal" (per the 9.5:1 spec) by 100 lbs.

 

That's fine if you have power to add. I'm wide open at my minimum weight. I've been dialing in this car for 4 years and it's right on.

 

I know this is all still up in the air. I'm just adding my two cents to be sure we're thinking through about how to adjust the performance.

I'm in the same boat at TJ. My car is currently 50lbs overweight with a 2850 minimum and I'm coming off track at 2900. With the cool suit for the next event, I'm going to be 100 lbs heavy. Nothing more can be taken out of the car (within reason). I support a weight penalty for non-Toyo tires.

 

For the TX region, we are looking at a gentlemen's agreement for RA1's or Nitto NT01's as equal (no weight break/penalty). One racer just bought a set of NT01's for an enduro that just folded, so he's sitting on a brand new set of tires. Others that have run the tire say it's just about as apples/apples to the RA1 as you can get as I've heard they are made in the same tire facility as the RA1's in Japan. So, not a long term solution, as their supply will most likely dry up as well, but for us in TX it will most likely crutch us through almost the rest of the year (at least past Nat's), as we have an event in October and possibly another in November.

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Red Tornado

In WC trim we are going out now over 3,600lbs with rewards weight and gas to last for 50 minutes. Cars can handle extra weight.

 

What everyone needs to be ok with is not everyone is going to be perfectly happy with any solution. It's all a bad problem they are working thru and doing a good job and allowing us to weigh in.

 

One of the reasons I love NASA. They listen and directors really represent us well.

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