Project IS-F: Getting New Shoes with Nitto Tires

Project IS-F: Getting New Shoes with Nitto Tires

by Mike Kojima

Project IS-F is a real daily driver, driven every day by a little old Asian lady back and forth to work. On weekends the car also hauls the family along, fast.  The car gets a lot of miles on it and day in and out wear and tear.

Our project car previously sported a set of Nitto NT05 ultra high performance dry weather tires in 275/35-19 for the rear of the car and 245/40-19 for the front.  We kept the same front to rear stagger in width but ran a taller tire in the front to keep the front of the car from being too low so Asian ladies wouldn't smash the air dam on everything.

The NT05's had a lot of dry grip, a decent ride, were fairly quiet on the road and actually were not that bad in the rare California rain storm.  What they did do was wear out fast.  Our tires were pretty well worn out after only 17,000 miles.  Although this seems fast, our OEM Michelin Pilot Sports wore to the cords in just 15,000 miles.

It seems like the IS-F has a big appetite for tires even when aligned properly with a mild street setting. It is a heavy car with a lot of torque and power with a multi link suspension that employs an aggressive camber curve.

It was time for a new set of tires and we decided to to try another tire from Nitto's product line up, the Invo.  The Invo is still considered to be an Ultra High performance tire, just one that is less biased toward dry grip and optimized for more all around grip and a little longer tire life.  Considering that our IS-F is used a a true daily driver in all weather conditions, we felt that this might be a better choice in a practical sense. 

Read More About Project IS-F!


The Invo product description sounds like it fits the IS-F perfectly.  A luxury sport ultra high performance tire for the staggered fitiments commonly found on theses types of vehicles.  We did extensive testing of the Invo, Motivo and NT05 product lines last year and were really pleased with how the Invo performed in the dry and wet.   The Invo has a much more aggressive tread than the NT05 which helps evacuate water from the zone between the tread and road for better wet grip.  Like the NT05, the Invo features a solid center rib which helps straight line stability and braking. The inner shoulder of the tread is pretty solid for a large contact patch for better all around grip.  This also helps resist wear in cars that have a lot of negative camber. Although the inner blocks are pretty solid, siping is woven through the blocks to evacuate water while locking together under dry load to act like a solid tread block giving the best of both worlds. 
The large, mostly solid outer tread blocks greatly help dry cornering by reducing squirm and increasing contact patch in this highly loaded part of the tire.  The twin wide circumferential grooves on either side of the center rib like the NT05 help give a large drainage channel for water to flow into. The asymmetrical tread pattern is designed to reduce whine and road noise by eliminating harmonics.  The tread compound is high in silica which boosts all weather performance while increasing wear resistance.

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