Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 1, 2009

You can make all the horse-power you want and all the suspension upgrades you can, but none of that matters if you can't get the tires to stick to the ground. Everything you do to the car, short of waxing or painting it, relies on the tires to make the fun happen. Although they are often an afterthought, especially when it comes to the average enthusiast, they are arguably the four most important components of your vehicle. That being said, we opted to take a look at the high-performance tire market as it relates to late-model Fords.

As with any vehicle component, there's always an upgrade you can make, and since you probably already have stock tires on your ride, we're going to show you what's available to help you make the most of your high-performance modifications. To gather more data, we called on the experts at American Muscle to give you some insight on wheel and tire fitment, and we dug up the latest information on what specific tires are required to run some of the popular racing series.

We focused on getting the word out on this hot rubber, so be sure to contact the manufacturer for more information on things like specific sizes, tire diameters, and more specific information regarding the UTQG, traction, and temperature ratings. We've also limited this discovery of information to just radial-constructed tires. There are a number of drag racing tires that are bias-ply in construction, and carry a DOT approval. Mickey Thompson, M&H Tires, and Hoosier all carry products like these. It's pretty much self-explanatory that they are for drag racing ,and most of them are optimized for straight-line acceleration.

Many readers have heard the DOT terminology thrown around with drag racing tires, but the truth is, there are a good number of tires designed for road racing that have been given the stamp of approval from the Department of Transportation as well. DOT-legal tires generally meet the minimum requirements established by the U.S. Department of Transportation for tires used on public roads. However, this approval doesn't necessarily mean that a tire is well suited for regular use on public roads, especially in inclement weather.

In putting together this article, we found both drag and road racing tires for you, and even a few high-performance radial tires that have reached the pinnacle of performance when it comes to maximum performance both on and off the track. Without further adieu, here are your contenders.

Ventus Z214
Use: Designed for road racing, autocross, and other classes where a DOT tire is required.

Tech Notes: UTQG Treadwear 40, Traction C, Temperature ACompounds: C30 & C31 - Hard - Recommended for road racingC50 & C51 - Medium - Recommended for road racingC70 & C71 - Soft - Recommended for autocrossSize Range: 225/45/13 to 275/35/18

Hankook Tire

DOT Drag Radial
Use: Soft compound drag radial tire for competition use.

Tech Notes: DOT-labeled Hoosier racing tires meet Department of Transportation requirements for marking and performance only, and are not intended for highway use. It is unsafe to operate any Hoosier racing tire, including DOT tires, on public roads.

Size Range: 225/50/15 to 335/35/17

Hoosier Racing Tire Corp.
65465 U.S. 31Lakeville, IN 46536574/784-3152