We have had a set of Toyo R888 tyres fitted to one of our cars now for over 12months and we thought we would provide some feedback on what they are like to live with on a day to day basis. When we originally fitted the tyres we weren’t sure if they would be suitable as an everyday tyre, we primarily wanted them for track days but if they were suitable for road use we would keep them on the car all the time.
R888 Tyre Review
R88 Tyre Review – Introduction
We knew the tyres would be good in the dry but we had some reservations about fitting R888s to a road car.
Our main concerns about fitting these tyres were service life, i.e. how long would they last and secondly at the less importantly, what would they be like in the rain.
R888 Tyre Review – Noise
Lets deal with the drawbacks first. One thing that was immediately apparent when the tyres were fitted was the noise. This is something we had been told about prior to fitting but it is not something we really took seriously. It turned out to be quite a big issue i.e. the tyres were very loud and got louder as speed increased. This did not really bother us but it is something worth bearing in mind if you are considering a set for your car. If you want your tyres quite, then R888s are not for you!
It is hard to describe the noise, maybe the best way to describe it is a much higher pitched, much sharper noise. The road surface you are driving on makes a big difference to the volume, but in general they are noisy although as the tyres have got older the have become much much quieter and are now quite close to a normal set of road tyres.
R888 Tyre Review
R888 Tyre Review – New
Another issue we did not expect at all was how little traction there would be when they tyres are new. This is down to our inexperience with racing tyres, I’m sure all new racing tyres have the same characteristic, it’s just we where expecting to have grip from the first turn of the wheel like you get with road tyres, this was certainly not the case.
We initially changed the front tyres and 2 days later we changed the rears, this was a massive, massive mistake. We should have changed all the tyres at the same time, this was definitely an experiment that didn’t work out. For the first 2 days with the new rear tyres on the car there was massive, massive oversteer and it was not the gradual, progressive, controllable type of oversteer. It was the sort viscous snap, grip one moment, less than zero grip the next type of oversteer. To say it was unnerving is underplaying it, especially the first time it happened. I wasn’t trying particularly hard, indeed I was driving around a bend I drive every day at the speed I would with normal road tyres so I was expecting zero issues. I was very very wrong. The car turned into the corner and didn’t stop turning, what followed was a long long drift at a very impressive angle. It seemed to go on for minutes. To give an idea of how long it went on for, I had a chance to observe the armco crossing in front of the windscreen, the initial thought that went through my mid was hmm, I was expecting that, the second thought was this is going to lead to a very embarrassing and possibly expensive accident, I had quite a while to think about this but the accident never came so I though to myself, maybe a I can get out of this so I floored the throttle, the car came round and off I went. I was suitably awake after his incident and had a more then a little adrenalin flowing through my eyeballs.
The oversteer was so sudden and so massive I though there simply must be something wrong with the geometry in a quite serious way, the standard tyres simply didn’t have enough grip to expose the problem. Anyway, I thought I would give it a few more days and see how things progressed, thankfully the grip came gradually but surely until the tyres were progressive and controllable at the limit, everything I was expecting. This is not to say there weren’t more scares in those two days but nothing like the initial time.
So a word of warning, give the tyres a couple of days to bed in before expecting masses of grip.
R888 Tyre Review – Grip
To discuss the grip in more detail there is masses of it, when the tyres are cold they can be quite average but when there is heat in them they are very very good. It will take a brave man to reach the limits consistently on a public road.
Under braking the car is very very good. so good in fact that you may well have to upgrade your braking system to fully exploit the grip available. It is now very hard to trigger the ABS with the R888s fitted. In cornering the car is excellent with enough grip to keep up with most thing this side of an EVO.
Wheel spin under acceleration has all but disappeared, unless you are going for a full bore 1st gear launch. At the local track, traction of out of corners was a major issue with road tyres and the issue has disappeared with the Toyos, although the fitting of coilover suspension will have also contributed to this in a big way.
Steering feel has been massively improved, and it was good to start with. There is much more weight coming through the steering wheel allowing you to judge the amount of grip much more accurately as well as being able to predict when the grip is running out.
Needless to say on track the R888s were night and day compared to road tyres.
In the wet the tyres were surprisingly good. It is possible to go faster than 99% of the cars on the road even when the rain is quite heavy. This makes going fast in the rain much more entertaining as well as much more socially acceptable as you don’t need to go so fast to be on the limit!
One area where the R888s do fall down is with standing water, in rain it is hard to notice they were track focused tyres but if you are driving thorough standing water it becomes very clear what tyre you are using. The R888s can feel as though they are literally skimming across the water, which of course is what they are actually doing.
So in summary, in wet conditions the tyres feel as good as any other tyre at normal speeds, but standing water had to be respected even more the the R888s.
R888 Tyre Review – Life
Tyre life has been very good with R888s, they have covered 1 track day and 10,000km of extremely hard driving with no problems and they have another 2000km in them at least.
R888 Tyre Review – Track
On track the tyre were extremely grippy but they did tend to go off after 3 or 4 laps. This may be down to the type of surface on he track or the extreme heat of the day but all in all they did need to be looked after if you wanted them to last more than 3 or 4 laps. We don’t have any other tyres to compare them to so this characteristic may6 be consistent with other tyres in the same class.
R888 Tyres Review – Summary
All in all the R888s have been found to be an extremely suitable road tyre as long as you can live with he drawbacks, i.e. the noise and their trouble dealing with standing water. For us the plus points of having so much more grip and steering feel, massively improved braking and cornering, we couldn’t imaging going back to a normal tyre after these. The car would fell very slow.