Any time we get an invite to hit the road course and try some hot new performance rubber for our Mustangs we’re in. We recently had the privilege to visit Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird International Raceway), the home of Bob Bondurant’s School of High Performance Driving, as a guest of Bridgestone Tire.
Bridgestone has a long history of performance and a great reputation amongst enthusiasts and motorsports fans with its Potenza brand. The original Potenza RE71 launched in 1985 and over the last three decades has been continually improved, starting with the standard center-rib design of the RE711 in the late 1990s and then moving to the asymmetrical design of the RE-11 in 2008. The RE-11 was updated to the RE-11A in 2012, keeping the asymmetrical tread design. The RE-11A has a well-deserved reputation as a perfect autocross or track day tire that you could leave on your performance car for everyday use. So could Bridgestone improve on that? We were about to find out first hand behind the wheel!
Bridgestone’s latest ultra-high-performance (UHP) tire harkens back to the original RE71, using a symmetrical construction with a directional tread pattern. The new high-grip polymer compound, along with the return of the wide center rib design, offers a dramatic increase in grip by increasing contact area by 15 percent. The soft compound of the RE-71R literally grips around the road’s textured surface. The reinforced, extra stiff sidewall and massive tread block shoulders help with cornering. In Bridgestone’s testing of the new RE-71R, both wet and dry cornering, and wet and dry lap times were improved over the RE-11A.
The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is currently available in 33 sizes and in 15- to 19-inch wheel diameters. Additional sizes will be launched later in 2015 and throughout 2016. Check out the technology notes and images below, as well as the accompanying video for more on our time with Bridgestone’s RE-71R, as-well-as Bridgestone’s Ecopia EP422 Plus and DriveGuard run-flat tires.