Once upon a time, we had race tires and we had street tires, and all seemed right and easy with the world. Today, well, we have a number of options. So. Many. Options.

Want a street-capable tire that consistently delivers lots of quick laps over a long period? Choose from the Endurance 200 class of tire. Want to win an autocross …

Endurance 200

Yokohama Advan Neova AD09
For dual-purpose cars with more emphasis on street use.
fastest lap: 1:28.0

Our experience with this model’s lineage now goes back nearly 20 years, with the introduction of the Advan Neova AD07 to the North American market in 2005. Thanks to a patented micro-silica compound, it delivered tremendous dry grip and durability for a street tire. It found a home in SCCA Street Touring autocross and became the original fitment for the Lotus Elise.

In 2009, the updated AD08 saw a performance increase, followed by an even quicker AD08R in 2013–the R indicating its “revolutionary” compound. That tire was so good that it remained in production until the arrival of the AD09 in 2022.

on the road: In addition to achieving cone-dodging success, these 200 treadwear tires have also found their way onto dual-purpose track day cars, where they deliver a strong blend of pace, consistency and durability in both wet and dry. Combined with a responsive, athletic feel on the road, the Neova remains a true do-it-all tire.

on the track: After taking a full lap to come in, its ultimate grip was not nearly as high as the others, and the edginess made it hard to hit all of our marks every lap. Still, the tire itself hung in there, losing no performance over the full session. We’d call it consistently playful. While the AD09 required a lot of steering input and felt edgy at the limit, recovery was always quick and intuitive.

Audible feedback was ever-present once the tire was up to temp, clearly announcing pushes to the limit. Toward the end of the session, the intensity of the feedback increased as the tire began to mildly heat soak.

Super 200

Yokohama Advan A052
A streetable motorsports tire for autocross and time trial use.
fastest lap: 1:26.0

Japan and Europe have more stringent rules for street-legal track tires. Instead of our nearly slick R-comps, these overseas markets require more of a tread. 

Yokohama has a long history in this area with models such as the A022 (1990), A032R (1994) and A048 (2000). American versions of these tires sported very conservative UTQG treadwear ratings to market their dry grip focus.

2016 saw the introduction of the latest in this line, the A052. It carried a 200 rating, but thanks to its initial tread depth of 6/32 inch, it wasn’t legal for much of the day’s American motorsports scene. That all changed in 2019 as Yokohama deepened the tire’s grooves to meet the 7/32-inch minimum required for the SCCA and others. With this, Yokohama moved straight to the top of the Super200 category in the U.S.

on the road: The A052 offers a soft feel and a somewhat vague steering response. Unlike most 200tw tires, however, the ride quality is quite good. At full tread depth, it’s also very good in wet conditions provided no deep puddles are present. 

on the track: This is where the A052 really shines, with tremendous grip being its strong suit. Corner exit power up is unmatched in the category, while lateral grip is among the best–that is, until it heat soaks. Typically, it’s a one-and-done tire in warm ambient conditions, with falloff coming shortly after the first full send lap.

Heat soak can be mitigated through lower tread depths either from wear, shaving or, in the case of this test, a cold track. So while we did experience some falloff, it wasn’t nearly as severe as we’ve seen on warmer days.


Yokohama Advan A055
Despite the DOT rating, these are billed as for motorsports only. 
fastest lap: 1:24.4

The DOT-compliant R-comp tire category is unique to the U.S. market and is the result of decades of manufacturer competition. Limited only by the minimal U.S. government regs for street use, R-comps are close cousins to full racing slicks. In fact, despite that DOT rating, all are clearly marked as “Not for Highway Use.”

Hoosier has long dominated this segment with its A7 and R7 tires–one for autocross, one for road racing. Yokohama recently joined the fray with its A055, a tire that matches the R7 in pace but offers more precise handling characteristics.

on the track: The A055 came up to temp rather quickly, and full grip was available after about a lap and a half. Steering response felt extremely progressive, with small inputs making increasingly larger turning moments as cornering loads increased. 

Breakaway was a little edgy, especially at the rear of the car. This required constant attention to drive at the limit consistently, but the tire’s pace never slowed. Data showed that we truly connected all the dots on that final flyer.

Racing Slick

Yokohama Advan A005
Highly optimized for competition use only.
fastest lap: 1:25.4

How about a tire with zero concessions for street manners? Enter the world of racing slicks. 

Street tires are molded with patterned void areas to help resist hydroplaning in wet conditions. But those tread blocks reduce dry performance through squirm. 

In the early days of motorsports, teams shaved off most of that tread to produce a faster tire. Eventually, racing tires came molded with only a smooth tread surface. These tires are commonly called slicks.

That smooth tread cap has also been reduced in thickness–typically only 4/32 inch–which further mitigates heat buildup under load. This in turn allows for much softer, stickier compounds to be used without graining. 

Today’s racing slicks are highly optimized for specific applications and available in a variety of compounds to suit the requirements of pace and durability. Where street tires, even R-comp models, are often billed as a one-fits-all solution, slicks can be tailored to a specific application. It’s basically the ultimate expression of optimization for purpose–but at the expense of wider range of use.

Not every compound is available in every size–again, back to that specialized mission statement–but for maximum effect, we wanted to try the softest compound available, figuring it would offer the fastest times. 

Racing slicks typically use dimensional sizing rather than the aspect ratio system found on street tires. Within the A005 size lineup, the closest match in width to our 245/40R17 street tires is a 240/640R17, but the outside diameter is a bit too tall. Plus, this option only exists in a medium compound. 

The next size down–210/610R17–is both shorter and narrower but comes in the soft compound. Our experience has always been that compound beats size–except in extreme cases–so we ordered up the smaller, stickier tires.

Our excitement diminished a bit when we were informed that no fresh inventory existed–the A005 is much more prevalent in larger sizes–but Yokohama did have a set that was a few years old. Given that our A055 tires performed well despite a 2-year-old build date, we gave the go-ahead. Upon their arrival, our anticipation took another hit: These tires looked even older. In fact, the stickers had yellowed. 

on track: Our suspicions were confirmed, as these tires were no longer in their prime. They required a lot of warmup to deliver any grip at all, though they were fairly consistent afterward. The driving dynamics were quite good, with even more responsiveness than the lively A055. But the grip just was not there to deliver the goods. 

While not all slicks carry a DOT-style date code–manufacturers can look up batch codes to verify builds–our A005s did indeed carry one. And that date code was full of bad news: Our tires were more than 5 years old. 

Even when warehoused properly, the compounds used to make racing slicks usually don’t age well. These tires were the equivalent of a skunked bottle of wine, compromising part of our vertical tasting. We’ll have to revisit this one as, based on our experience, the racing slicks should have outpaced the R-comps by upwards of a second.

Yokohama Advan AD09 (retest)

fastest lap: 1:28.1

At the end of the day, we re-ran the AD09 to properly bracket for both driver and track stability. Even with the warmer conditions, the lap times were very similar. The only variation was quite a bit more audible feedback, bordering on a screechfest. Happy with our data, we packed up.

What Did We Learn?

Reviewing our back-to-back times with this slate of tires, we found this experience very enlightening. The AD09 is now one of our favorite track-capable road tire recommendations, while the A052 continues to find a place on our cars for competitions with 200tw restrictions. We’ve also found podium success running the A055 in NASA TT, where the rules favor DOT R-comps. 

The A005? Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but we have high hopes based on the quality of the rest of Yokohama’s offerings–next time, we just need to test a current size. 

The big lesson here: This test showed how each class of tire delivers specific traits. Wondering how much time you’re giving up by not running the fastest tires allowed by your rules? This little exercise might shed some light.

Track Results


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