While competing in a MBCA event at Summit Point WV with our 2008 Smart Passion Coupe, it became evident that the tires (especially the front) are inadequate to control understeer while trying to maintain momentum in sharp turns.  Also, front wheel braking seems marginal at best.  The car did well ( just over 2 minutes for the 2 mile, 10 turn course), but seems to need serious improvement in tire contact.

I noticed that Tire Rack is offering an upgrade to a 16" wheel with 195-45 front and 215-40 rear rubber, and am interested if anyone has tried this combination, or has any other ideas to improve handling on a road course?

Thanks in advance for any help....

Werner

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As you've found, it's not designed as a track car. Any number of wheel/tire options out there, from same size 15s all around to same size 17s all around. The 2011 model will offer larger 15 inchers both front and rear as an option. As for braking, again it's a street car and actually stops pretty well. Here's some info from Road & Track test data, braking distance from 60 - 0 mph:

smart fortwo - 130 feet

Mercedes C350 Sport - 135 feet

Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV - 134 feet
try rears up front.. many of us have done that for years now with good results. Now if your budget allows, jump to 195s all around on 15s or some have managed 205s all around obviously on wider rims!
I've been running 195/50 on 15" Rial wheels from Tire Rack at all four corners for over 35K miles. The most improved aspect is handling, but there are other improvements in ride quality, high speed stability, ability to rotate, etc. Check out this thread on SCOA about larger wheels/tires: Rotate Club

I am also in WV, but haven't heard of Summit Point. Whereabouts is that? :)

Photos immediately after the change (but my car is red now):
Wheels 1
Wheels 2
Wheels 3


XCAPEPOD said:
I've been running 195/50 on 15" Rial wheels from Tire Rack at all four corners for over 35K miles. The most improved aspect is handling, but there are other improvements in ride quality, high speed stability, ability to rotate, etc. Check out this thread on SCOA about larger wheels/tires: Rotate Club

I am also in WV, but haven't heard of Summit Point. Whereabouts is that? :)

Photos immediately after the change (but my car is red now):
Wheels 1
Wheels 2
Wheels 3
Looks like the Smart will readily take reasonable wheel upgrades, and thanks to all who responded. As to where Summit Point, WV is located, it is about 15 miles East of Winchester, VA, and the main road course is a 2 mile, 10 turn track that has been there for well over 30 years that I have been going there. There are also a shorter course and special training areas for the feds, etc.
I had previously run my 380SL, a 300SD, and a 300D 2.5 there, and the Smart was interesting to learn those limits.
Werner
I really like the way your car looks. How did you install the key on the back? Did you motorize it?




Werner Fehlauer said:


XCAPEPOD said:
I've been running 195/50 on 15" Rial wheels from Tire Rack at all four corners for over 35K miles. The most improved aspect is handling, but there are other improvements in ride quality, high speed stability, ability to rotate, etc. Check out this thread on SCOA about larger wheels/tires: Rotate Club

I am also in WV, but haven't heard of Summit Point. Whereabouts is that? :)

Photos immediately after the change (but my car is red now):
Wheels 1
Wheels 2
Wheels 3
I can't comment on stopping distances as R&T data might suggest, but just know that when going deep into the corners, the "feel" of the front brakes just wasn't nearly as re-assuring as when I did the same on a larger car. Add to that the ABS "skip" and pad/tire smell, and the car definitely needs more grip in the front. Looks like I will go for bigger shoes if I do that test again!
Werner


jwight said:
As you've found, it's not designed as a track car. Any number of wheel/tire options out there, from same size 15s all around to same size 17s all around. The 2011 model will offer larger 15 inchers both front and rear as an option. As for braking, again it's a street car and actually stops pretty well. Here's some info from Road & Track test data, braking distance from 60 - 0 mph:

smart fortwo - 130 feet

Mercedes C350 Sport - 135 feet

Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV - 134 feet
17" Staggered ROTA SLIPSTREAMS Silver/polished $450
http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f11/17-staggered-rota-slips...

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