The Best Racing Tires For Your Mustang
Last Updated: 4/22/2021
From the start, the Mustang showed the world that it was ready to race against the best. With it’s first racing win in 1964 during the Tour de France in its first production year, the Mustang very quickly cemented its performance reputation. Over and over, the Mustang showed that Ford was not messing around with their performance department. From then, the Mustang began winning multiple racing types and had Ford recognized in the NHRA in 1965. That same year, it began winning on road courses as well. Working with multiple performance brands, the Mustang proved to be a seriously competitive race car.
After showing both amazing factory performance as well as aftermarket racing prowess, the Mustang continued its dominance on-tracks around the world. The constant in its performance was that it consistently ran on the best tires available at the time for each type of race. The Mustang has raced in SCCA, NHRA, and IMSA, each time on different wheel and tire setups as fit for the three different types of racing. Today, the Mustang is a prominent car in drag racing, road racing, track racing, and even drift racing.
Mustang Street Use Tires
For the everyday enthusiast, street use is what many people will use for their cars mainly. The street makes enough of a proving ground for many drivers, as well as keeps them on their toes for changing terrain, environment, and driving conditions with people who may not be as aware of their surroundings. To make the best of the hazards that are constantly being thrown at drivers, a proper high-performance street tire can make a world of difference. As a result, the road-use tires for the Mustang are a major priority in avoiding dangerous situations while still being able to run occasional track time or autocross circuits.
In a lot of our applications for road use, we at Steeda have gone with our friends from Nitto for most of our street cars for most situations. Tires like the Nitto INVO have been our go-to when it comes to road use because of it’s combination of all-weather durability as well as offering a good contact area for the tire to the ground. The INVO has worked for us on multiple vehicles, including our 2013 supercharged Mustang GT with ease, even with over 600 horsepower. The Nitto INVO have been such good all-around performance tires for us that we run them on nearly every car outside of our full racing builds. Between the INVO and Nitto NT555 G2 summer tires which we run on our more track-dedicated street cars, we are able to keep our cars planted firmly on the road even with over 600 horsepower with ease.
Mustang Road Racing & Autocross Tires
For someone who has not gone racing before, as well as for someone who enjoys serious testing their car’s handling abilities, road racing and autocross offer great entries to the sport. For this much more aggressive driving, better tires make a massive difference. A good racing tire alone can make a big enough difference on a car over even performance road tires regarding increased handling, cornering, grip, and even power delivery. Gaining the most traction will ensure you have better lap times, confidence, steering input, and will be able to put your Mustang power down as effectively as possible. In road racing and autocross, being able to put down power is just as important as having power.
For road racing and autocross, the Nitto NT01 has been one of the best tires we have ever run. We use it on our Q500 HPDE car when we race on track or autocross as well as on some of our full race-only build vehicles like our 2005 race car. The NT01s have been good for road racing for us and uses a steel-reinforced sidewall to maintain proper contact and durability for the tire’s entire use. Tires like this are not intended for use outside of racing and specifically should be used in dry weather to ensure maximum performance out of them. When they are run properly, they make a serious difference in performance, which can be seen on our Q350 Handling Build in it’s road racing setup.
Mustang Drag Racing Tires
Unlike the past categories, drag racing focuses on the tires and wheels in a way that requires the absolute most grip possible while weighing the least. Front-end handling is not as important on drag racing cars, while ensuring the rear hooks up properly on the strip is the most important aspect. Drag tires, like track tires used in road racing, are not road legal and must be properly transported to the track. For decades the most common tires that enthusiasts and racers alike use for drag racing are either a full racing slick or drag radial. Both tire options are equipped with a softer tire compound to contact the pavement with a larger patch of rubber and have a bigger sidewall to allow the tire to wrinkle during the initial launch. These tires don't have tread grooves built into them to have more contact space to grip the pavement.
Perhaps one of our most famous recent cars, the Silver Bullet S550 GT drag car holds the record for fastest naturally aspirated Mustang at 9.7 seconds in the quarter mile. On this car, we run a set of Mickey Thompson ET drag slicks in the rear and a set of Mickey Thompson Ultra-Light front skinny tires. While there are other good drag tire setups and some can even have grooves in them to ensure traction is less-than-perfect weather. These full slick rear tires have worked for us as a great tire to hook every time out of the start and are currently what we run on our record-holding car. Mickey Thompson has been one of the most recognizable brands in drag racing, right alongside the Hoosier tires that we run on some of our cars. Paired with the proper wheels (we run Billet Specialties Mustang Win Lite on the Silver Bullet), the tires make a serious difference in grip and how easy it is to properly launch down the strip.
The Best Tires For You
When it comes to your tire choice, your personal driving style plays a major role in it. If you are going to take your Mustang to a track only a couple times per year, a good set of all-season or summer tires should be enough for you to enjoy your car and track it. Tires like this should be good too if you only go to the drag strip a few times per year. For someone who wants the absolute best performance out of their car on the track or strip, investing in a good pair of track or strip-focused tires could make sense. Overall, your tires need to make sure your car stays firmly planted and safe during high-performance driving and we at Steeda take pride in being able to provide you with that peace of mind.