Since the 370Z is also a daily driver we decided to try a high performance tire that is designed for wet as well as dry performance. We ended up selecting the Continental Extreme Contact DW in 275/35-18 for the front and 295/35-18 in the rear. The Z can actually run even larger tires but we did not want to bog our NA engine down with too much tire.
The Continental Extreme Contact DW has some unusual features to help its performance in both dry and wet conditions. The tread features chamfered edges on the grooves which Continental has found to increase dry traction. An outer shoulder with solid blocks also helps dry grip by reducing tread squirm. To enhance wet grip a high void to tread ratio design is used which speeds water evacuation from beneath the tire's contact patch. The tire has a UTQG wear rating of 340, surprisingly high for a performance tire.
Our fitment is very conservative as you can see. We can run way bigger tires in the future if we need to.
It's not hella flush trendy but it looks good!
On the track the overall grip level of the Continental Extreme Contact DW was surprisingly good, much better than the 340 tread wear rating suggests, the compound seems to get very soft and grippy once a little bit of heat is into them. The tire's transient response though is only fair due to the all season biased tread design that squirms under load and a somewhat soft sidewall. Because of the small tread blocks designed for water evacuation flexing and squirming around, the compound over heats quickly at track speed losing grip. The wide sizes we ran on the 370 helped with heat capacity a little bit. If the current tire compound was in a extreme performance summer tire design with larger tread blocks, and a reinforced sidewall, it would be a street class time attack contender. Nevertheless, considering that the tire is an all season design and somewhat out of its element on the track, it surprised us with relatively good performance.
|The Continental Extreme Contact DW's ride comfort day to day though is exceptional, and the tire has very low noise, both excellent street tire characteristics. The tire's behavior at the limit of adhesion on track is solid and the audible communication is good, helping make the break away point more predictable. Longitudinal grip was exceptionally good for an all season tire and the braking and corner exit traction were sufficient for track use|
Our Z is handling better and gaining track competence. In the near future we will be looking into the Z's biggest issue, keeping cool enough to stay out of limp mode. Stay tuned!