A Performance Tire with Wet Traction in Mind
First things first, my daily driver Mustang is equipped with a set of BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD tires. I’ll admit; I’m extremely fond of those tires. They perform well out on the street and they perform well on the track. Unfortunately, they’re not that great when it rains. Then again, they weren’t designed to be.
Enter the new Cooper Zeon RS3 tire. This performance tire features a unique tread pattern designed to move water away from the contact patch in wet weather conditions. On the other end of the spectrum it’s also designed to deliver maximum dry traction, solid grip, and split-second steering response on sunny days. In fact, its special footprint is engineered to deliver consistent handling performance at high G-forces. Although The Zeon RS3 is by no means intended to be used as an all-season tire, Cooper Tire did work to make the Zeon RS3 capable of handling slick streets and wet weather conditions. This tire won’t get you through deep standing water at high speeds, but it’s a solid performance tire that will get you to and from the track safely, regardless of the weather you encounter.
Features of the Cooper Zeon RS3 Tire
Specifications of the tire are as follows:
- Price: $295 per tire (More info)
- W-Rated (168 mph Top Speed)
- Size is 275/40ZR18
- Non-Directional/Hard Asymmetric tread pattern
- Large Tread Blocks for Stability
- Additional Smaller Tread Blocks to cut water film
- Wide Circumferential Grooves for Hydroplane Resistance
Out on the Track
Areas where the Zeon RS3 tires beat out the BFGoodrich tires were in longevity and the ability to maneuver through wet surfaces. Half way through our session a thunderstorm rolled in and slightly misted the track. It wasn’t an official downpour, but the mist was enough to get the track slick in a few areas. Although performance was reduced, the Zeon’s held to the track better than my BFGoodrich tires have in similar conditions. Neither tire would be my tire of choice in wet weather, but the Cooper tire was definitely an improvement.
As for longevity, I ran one set of Zeon RS3 tires the entire day. Between my aggressive driving at high speeds and the performance display put on my Jack Jr., the tires really held up.
Final Take: A Good Tire for Both Track and Street
Would I recommend them to a friend? Yes, if they were seeking a performance tire for daily driving and the occasional track day, the RS3 would rank high on my list. After all, if Jack Roush is willing to associate his name with this tire, it has to be able to perform.
In fact, Roush played an active role in the creation of the tire. He wanted a tire that could offer extreme grip up to 1g of lateral force. He wanted a tire that was extremely responsive to driver input, and he wanted a tire that could be used on the track. He also looked for a tire with competitive tread wear and a competitive ride. That means the tire has to be comfortable enough to use when driving around town without too much road vibration or noise.
In all, this tire ranks up there with the BFGoodrich g-force T/A KD tire. ROUSH & Cooper Tire say they are considering adding additional sizes of the tire in the future. In addition to being available on new ROUSH Mustangs, the tires are also sold at Cooper Tire dealers for 2005-2010 Mustangs.