I’ve now had two sets of Toyo R888s as track tires, but held off on publishing a review until I had a chance to run them on the street for a few weeks too and see how they did. I’ve finally done that, so at long last my latest tire review is here. The R888 is one of the most highly recommended tires for the track, at least among my peer group of track-oriented Audifans. They are marketed as a “DOT Competition Tire” meaning a race tire that still has enough tread pattern & depth that it is okay for street use (DOT approved), in other words it is not a full slick or drag radial. Most DOT competition tires have a UTQG of 40-80, but the Toyo R888 tire has a UTQG of 100, meaning they should last a little longer, at least in theory (UTQG are notoriously subjective and inconsistent across manufacturers, so don’t always take these at face value). This higher UTQG and firmer rubber is especially well suited for heavier cars like Audis that would otherwise eat through softer tires with all of the heat and stress the extra mass of the car puts on them. After running two different sets on the track where they received lots of abuse, I can verify that they are have a very good lifespan, and almost seem to get better with age. You can easily expect to get a dozen track days out of them, even when pushing them. My current set is almost at the wear bars, but they grip just as good as a new pair; that’s impressive. Furthermore, they aren’t THAT bad when it comes to street use either; they’re definitely not plush nor whisper quiet, but I’ve had worse street tires for sure. Read on for more in-depth insights for both street and track applications…
Track use is where these tires really shine; they grip for days, and even near the end of a 20 minute session they’re still very strong. My B7 S4 weighed nearly 4,000 lbs with a driver and full tank of gas, and even then the tires stayed grippy and really helped stop the notorious understeer issues that Audis are known for. I’ve consistently had drivers of RWD cars like a Porsche Cayman come up to me after a HPDE event and say how impressed they were with the Audi, disappointed they weren’t leaving me in the dust in the corners where their car normally outshines. I’ve even had a few folks behind me notice if anything that I was able to kick the rear out ever so slighty when throttle steering, much different than their expectation of an Audi that understeers like crazy. An R compound tire is about the most fun mod you can do to from a track perspective, and it greatly improves your lap times. The only downside is that it also hides your mistakes really well, so it’s not a great idea if you are new and still learning a track or car, since you can’t feel things as well. Regardless, I love these tires on the track, and think they’re very well suited for the Audi crowd with their higher UTQC rating, tread pattern, and ability to withstand abuse. They also come in 255/35/18 or 245/40/18 sizing at a relatively affordable cost, which is a good size for most Audis that are running seperate track wheels (18×9 works perfect here, such as my Fifteen 52 Turbomacs and Enkei PF01s).
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I was most curious about how these tires were on the street, knowing they are primarily designed for track use. I decided to put them on for a few weeks and find out, and installed tire stickers while I was at it just for fun. Surprisingly, these tires weren’t that bad for a daily driver! Per Toyo they can handle some wet pavement, but I didn’t really test this given the dry California summer…but on dry pavement, they did just fine on freeways, parking lots, etc. My biggest complaint is that they’re so sticky that when you’re on gravel or poorly paved roads the tires have a tendency to throw rocks and pebbles and damage the paint on your car or the car driving behind you. They are also just a touch noisier, especially as they get near the end of their tread/lifespan. I noticed maybe a small dip of 1MPG in fuel economy as well, but to me these downsides are all okay if not completely cancelled out by the additional fun factor – every once in a while you’ll find a turn that you can take so much faster than you would otherwise, and the tires just grip and hold, even if they’re not fully warmed up. It’s really neat to have the option to take a corner as fast as you want on a whim, which is something I’d never consider on normal street tires.
If you’re looking for an awesome track tire for your Audi, look no further. If you are looking for a tire for mixed street/track use that is more street than track, I might advise to look elsewhere unless you are planning on doing a lot of track use coming up soon or want a VERY aggressive street tire. I plan to use these only for track use personally, but moving forward I won’t hesitate to drive to and from the track on these tires too…no need to drive on separate street tires, change tires at the track, then change back for the drive home. The treadwear (and tread pattern) is plenty robust for driving a few hundred miles here or there on the street, but they’re definitely overkill if you don’t plan to track or drive in high performance situations pretty frequently. I’ll be buying a third set soon once these kick the bucket!