Methods and tools used to improve motorsport tires
Motorsport cars need lightweight tires with high traction to maximize stability and safety. Drivers use Siping and grooving techniques alter the tires so that they can offer better performance. Grooving increases sharp edges on the tire to maximize the grip and prevent the car from spinning or sliding. The drivers cut grooves that are perpendicular to the rotation of the Motorsport wheel to provide more grip which enables the vehicle to move forward. However, the front wheels have grooves which are parallel to the direction of rotation to enhance steering. Sipping increases the build-up of heat in the wheel to enhance grip in just a few laps.
On wet conditions, water can easily build up between the wheels and the tarmac and between the underbody of the vehicle and the road. This makes the car run on a thin film of water instead of the rough asphalt. This condition is called: ‘aquaplaning’. Aquaplaning is the biggest danger to all motorsport drivers. It causes many accidents since there is no way you can regain control of the car once it starts to aquaplane. This problem also occurs on other off-road surfaces such as wet grass and the resulting impact is usually similar, since there is no way the driver can stop the car. Motorsport tires without treads have the highest traction on dry roads only. However, tires with plain surfaces offer little traction on wet roads and off-road surfaces such as grass, mud, dirt and sand. To solve this problem Motorsport drivers carefully design treads of their tires to get maximum traction at high speeds. Treads increase traction on off-road surfaces. Tread size and shape determine the amount of water that is displaced on the road.
Motorsport drivers ‘camber cut’ their tires using different tire machining tools. Some tools such as the Knobby Knife and the Grooving Irons are Heated Tire Tread Cutting Tools. The heating element is connected to a solid brass head that heats uniformly for accurate cutting. Unlike the traditional manual Tire Sipers, heated knife grooving tools helps the drivers to create treads faster. Some heated tools have adjustable blades to control the depth of the threads. They also have a nylon pistol grip which stays cool and it is lightweight and comfortable to use.
The treads are designed at a specific angle to reduce the overall height of the treads. This technique significantly increases the surface area of the tread which is in contact with the road. Camber cutting improves traction and reduce tread flex in corners thus maintaining stability of the sports car. Another benefit of this technique is that it prevents the tires from tearing, chunking or chipping which is quite common on plain surface tires. The cut tires have less mass which reduces rolling resistance hence they accelerate faster. Finally, the modified wheels offers a better grip which allows the drivers to brake instantly on sharp corners or if there is an incident. This is advantageous since it prevents the car from sliding off the track or colliding with other sports cars. This gives the driver better steering response in a competition.
The drivers make the motorsport tires to last longer by aligning their cars regularly. A good alignment ensures even distribution of the weight of the car on the wheels. This prevents terminal or uneven tire wear. The tires have minimal siping to prevent overheating. This allows the wheel to be re-used several times. Tire pressure also determines the durability of the tires. The drivers maintain the correct pressure to evenly distribute the load on the wheels. If you have a low tire pressure, the shoulders of the wheels carry more load thus making them to wear faster. On the other hand, high pressure makes the treads on the mid-section of the tire to wear faster and this makes the tire to expire prematurely.