After the car posted fast times at winter auto-x yesterday I got constant inquiries about what tires are on the car. I’ve run a number of winter tires in the past, with my favourite being the Kumho KW19 (now discontinued), I am now using Sailun WST1. Sai-what?
That’s what I said, but my tire guy convinced me to give them a shot based on the total stud count they offer. I.E. compared to the Kumho KW22 (successor to the KW19) they offer 20-30 more studs per tire depending on size. They’re also super cheap. My intention was actually to have them fit with some extra long 15mm studs and make them designated lake tires, but that wasn’t communicated to the tech and when I arrived to pic them up I found them fit with spec 12mm studs.
There are a number of variables at play, but they do certainly out grip Andrew’s standard studded KW22s. His are stock sized 205/55 though, where as I have gone with 185/65 on a 15″ rim. Does narrower work better on ice? Apparently… but I don’t really get the theory as to why.
However it works, I’m not terribly unhappy with them. I don’t really like how pedestrian the tires look (Kumho’s have a big blocky tread that looks tough, where as these look much more like auntie’s street tires). Since auto-x organizers aren’t enforcing stud length, I somewhat regret not getting longer studs.
However…the car did still manage a 1-2 overall at our first event yesterday, and Andrew and I had such a shitty time that we’ll probably never go back so it’s probably for the better that they are still usable every day on the street. Auto-x might be fun once in a while… but 6 hours of standing around in icy cold wind for 6 minutes of driving an ultra tight course on glare ice is not a good time.