Over the last several months we’ve come to appreciate the improved Ecutek traction control system on our supercharged G37. For the given amount of traction it moves the car off the line well considering we’ve almost doubled the stock power output. At full throttle we are reminded somewhat frequently that the throttle is being dialed back due to the constant flashing of the SLIP light in the first three gears. Searching for more traction, the time has come for some new shoes in the form of two different tire compounds with the Nitto NT555RII and the NT05.
For the rear tires we’re trying something new at MotoIQ, the Nitto NT555RII drag radial. The NT555RII was made for the weekend drag racer or pavement pounders in the retro muscle car genre. We’re selecting Nitto’s NT05 for the front which is a max performance street tire with enough capability to handle weekend road race or auto-x outings. Both tires have just enough tread grooves to be street legal and aid in wet handling if you get caught in a rainstorm on the way to the track. This multi-purpose design for both tires is welcome by enthusiasts un-interested in swapping tire sets at the track or simply desire maximum performance for the street.
We were one of the initial testers of Nitto’s NT05 back in the day and the NT05 was reviewed on Project ISF and Project NSX . We picked the NT05s again for their ability to provide precise turn-in and balance of performance. Based on past performance it has a long tread life for a grippy high-performance tire. Remarkably our notes show the NT05 can do this while providing an amazingly quiet ride. Nitto achieved this by using silica and a special blend of polymers to create the tire composition. The carcass is special too, made of two plies of polyester. It’s both stiff in the sidewall for improved cornering and flexible enough to be compliant for a smooth ride. A large continuous center rib combined with the reinforced tread blocks provides a high tread to void ratio to put more of the tire’s special compounds to use.
The composition of the Nitto NT555RII consists of a semi-race compound for increased traction. It’s easy to see this by how you can leave a temporary fingernail impression on the tread. A big warning label on these tires states it will lose flexibility when used at temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The warning sticker recommends storing the tires at a temperature above 68 degrees for at least 24 hours before mounting.
The carcass contains two steel, two polyester, and one nylon ply for stability at higher speeds. The sidewall consists of three polyester plies to improve launch for better 60’ times. There’s a large twin center rib that provides a continuous contact patch down the middle. Alongside the center patch are circumferential grooves that offer built-in hydroplane resistance meaning you’ll get the water evacuation you need in the wet. The tread blocks are large as you’d expect from a semi-slick race construction.
Our 285/35/19 rear size choice for the Nitto NT555RII is somewhat unconventional but our 19” Advan RZII street-oriented rim provides a limited set of options for many track-focused tires. There are far more choices for track tires in 18” sizes.