In June, Bridgestone provided two car enthusiasts a set of RE-71R tyres for review. It was a chilly morning as they, along with many other drivers, signed up for the monthly ARDC track day. Held on the Gardner GP circuit, it was extremely popular amongst bikers, professional racers, and track enthusiasts.
Cameron Bell owns a 1991 Honda NSX and Matthew Everingham has a 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. They arrived early and secured a garage space, with the tyres having been installed on their identical Rays Volk Racing CE28Ns during the week. The two cars couldn’t have provided more of a contrast. The NSX is the Japanese Ferrari; mid-engine, rear wheel drive, with a naturally-aspirated, screaming V6 ensconced in a lightweight aluminium chassis. It was even further perfected by F1 legend, Ayrton Senna.
The Evolution IX on the other hand, was the 9th culmination of Mitsubishi’s World Rally Championship expertise. It has a very clever AWD system, a bulletproof, turbocharged two-litre engine, and massive Brembo brakes. The muscular sedan shape bulges with wide fenders, blistered bumpers, and that unmistakably massive rear wing.
Out on the first session, Cameron and Matthew took it relatively easy, re-learning the Gardner GP track, and practising their lines. Soon it was over, and when the testers came back into the pits, tyre pressures were checked and chins were wagged. Cameron and Matthew were amazed at the initial grip levels of the Bridgestone RE-71Rs, and couldn’t wait to go all out on the 2nd session.
With correct tyre pressure levels, Cameron and Matthew found the tyres to be awe-inspiring. “The adjustability and grip levels were extremely high, especially after I had dropped the tyre pressures to the correct level,” says Cameron. Matthew agreed, saying that the tyres felt even better in the 2nd session.
On the 3rd session, Cameron was confidently overtaking other cars on the track, even around corners. Matthew closed the gaps on high horsepower cars around corners with ease. “I’ve pushed and pushed the tyres, and they still have more to give!” Matthew commented. Cameron agreed, saying that the tyres were also very communicative, giving him the confidence to choose different lines, passing other cars around the track easily. Both were excited for the fourth session so they can break their personal bests.
Unfortunately, Matthew had to end his session early, due to cooked brakes. Despite that, he was very happy with the Bridgestone RE-71R experience, setting a new personal best time at the circuit. He was surprised that the Evolution IX’s Brembo brakes had given out before the tyres. Cameron was also highly satisfied with the tyres. “It feels more like an R-compound racing tyre than a 200 thread wear tyre,” he says, adding that the stiff sidewalls allowed him to gauge the NSX’s grip levels accurately.
Both were very happy with the tyres, and would recommend them to any car enthusiasts who goes to track days regularly.
Due to the specialised nature of this tyre, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71 is going to be initially available by order only.
Customer orders are expected to take up to 4 months to fulfil.
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