The Nitto NT05R is a max-effort,...
The Nitto NT05R is a max-effort, street-legal drag radial with a treadwear rating of "00." Although it looks similar to the NT05 Ultra High Performance street tire, its design has been optimized with a compliant sidewall for good launch characteristics, and a different cap configuration for stability at the top end of the track. Nitto will offer the NT05R in seven sizes initially, including a 345/30R19 and 315/35R20.
With the NT05Rs mounted, we drove out to the Street Legal Drags in Fontana, California, the following weekend. Unlike our East Coast brothers at Super Chevy and Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, we didn't have the luxury of unlimited testing at an empty track; we had to endure nine hours of waiting to make just two passes down the quarter-mile, which is more along the lines of what a typical reader would encounter. We arrived at 5:30 a.m., only to find there were already 200 cars in line ahead of us. Oofa! After teching in, we puked the contents of the Chevelle in the pits, and got into the staging lanes. Five hours later, we made our first run. With the tire pressure set at 30 psi, we performed a super smoky burnout, and staged up. Not wanting to launch as aggressively as we normally do with the Mickey Thompson 10.5x28 slicks, we only flashed the converter to 1,500 rpm on launch. That still managed to elicit huge amounts wheelspin and lots of wasted time. The timeslip read a disappointing 12.90/112.7 with a 2.39 60-foot time.
Lots of tire pressure (or at least "street" pressure) is clearly not the way to go with the NT05R. With 700 cars in the pits and one big oildown on track, we couldn't afford to mess things up again, so we went big. We deflated the NT05s to 15 psi, and got back in line. Four hours later, it was finally our turn to make our second-and last-run. After another huge burnout, we staged and brought the engine up on the converter as high as we dared-about 1,800 rpm. We took our time launching on the green, and marched through the gears of our TCI Super Street Fighter Turbo 400 manually with our TCI Outlaw shifter. We came out of the hole at less than full throttle, and by the second gearshift, we were able to lay it fully on the wood for the rest of the run. It's worth noting that the 496 big-block felt incredibly healthy with its new COMP short-travel lifters, and our Howitzer 496 big-block was still pulling strong through the lights at 6,000 rpm. The result: an 11.80/116.7 with a much-improved 1.87 60-foot time.
We took the test samples Nitto...
We took the test samples Nitto gave us to Big O Tires in Moreno Valley, California. Big O is a dealer for Nitto, and did a fine job mounting and balancing the NT05Rs on our Vintage Wheel Works V40 alloys.
As a point of reference, the best ever e.t. the Chevelle has gone is an 11.30/116.9 with a 1.57 60-foot time. This was with Mickey Thompson 10.5x28 ET Drag slicks, and Sportsman Pro skinnies up front. With the NT05Rs, we're still over three-tenths off our best 60-foot time of 1.53, but with a little more practice and a further reduction in tire pressure, we think we can whittle that down into the 1.70s or even high 1.60s. If we can do that, we should be able to e.t. somewhere between 11.50 and 11.60. For now, though, we're ecstatic that the Street Sweeper Chevelle is capable of deep 11s in 100 percent street trim, and that's the whole point of the NT05R. There's clearly a lot of untapped potential in this tire, and we plan to probe the limits further if we can get some more track time.
Based on our initial results, we'd highly recommend the NT05R for the guy who wants ultimate grip in his street car. They handle well on the road-unlike bias-ply DOT cheater slicks-and can greatly simplify your trips to the track. The NT05R will get you 90 to 95 percent of the way there without the expense of extra rims, tires, tubes, screws, trailers, or tow vehicles, and the NT05R can do double duty for daily driving in seasonal weather (i.e. all the time here in California). We like them so much, we'll be keeping the NT05Rs on the Street Sweeper Chevelle indefinitely. There's a lot more left in them!