Bridgestone Potenza Race: Equally adept on track and on the street? | Articles
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Bridgestone Potenza Race: Equally adept on track and on the street? | Articles

Family history often dictates individual personality traits–it’s true with humans, cars and tires. Bridgestone has a long and storied history in motorsports with major successes from the grassroots level all the way up to F1. 

However, major tiremakers derive most of their revenue from OE fitments for road cars, not aftermarket replacement or specialty products for racing. Occasionally all three line …

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS

  • 245/40R17 
  • fastest lap: 1:26.2

This set of RE-71RS tires had a few prior sessions on them, so the tread was nicely broken in but still had a full-depth feel–squirmy at the limit and more sudden breakaway than when worn to lower depths. Despite the heat, they were fairly consistent across the laps, but the quick time still came early on lap two with a 1:26.2.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS

  • 225/45R17 
  • fastest lap: 1:26.9

After bolting on the fresh set of 225mm-wide RE-71RS tires, we attempted to replicate the performance of the larger size but fell a bit short. As expected, the new tires delivered two very quick laps prior to heat soaking. At that point, the full-tread RE-71RS howled with feedback when pushed hard. Quick time was a 1:26.9.

Bridgestone Potenza Race

  • 225/45R17 
  • fastest lap: 1:27.6

The Potenza Race’s road personality continued on the track. Where the RE-71RS’s steering feel ramped up as cornering loads increased, the Potenza Race stayed fairly linear. This made it a little more challenging to anticipate the limits of adhesion until we were over them. 

Mitigating this was a very progressive breakaway that allowed easy recovery. These traits combined for a very fun experience on a well-balanced vehicle, as both ends are worked against each other. While its quickest lap was only a 1:27.6, it could repeat it consistently. We stayed out just to see how long it would take for the tire to fall off–and it never did.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS (retest)

  • 245/40R17 
  • fastest lap: 1:26.4

Bracketing our test with a repeat of the 245s netted a slight slowdown in pace, with the data showing us losing time all in the straights. With the high temps, the car’s drivetrain was simply not putting out quite the same power as when we started. Still, this gave us confidence in the veracity of our comparative test results, especially given the fairly large margins.

The Potenza Race (far right) is taller, with less tread width than the same-size RE-71RS (middle).

Track Test Results

Drawing Conclusions

Bridgestone’s performance target during development of the Potenza Race was the Michelin Sport Cup 2, and independent testing in Europe showed the Potenza to be superior in both lap times and longevity. Combine that with our results here, and the Potenza Race finds a home in the marketplace for those looking to put down consistent, high-quality laps while still delivering excellent road manners. 

The RE-71RS is still better for single-lap time trial competition, but you’ll pay a streetability, consistency and longevity price for that pace. Either way, Bridgestone has you covered.

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