When I purchased my 1997 Porsche 993 C4S the odometer read 24,000 miles. From the service history I could see that it had four new tires installed (Continental ContiSportContact 2s) less than 4,000 miles ago. This basically matched up with the information from my PPI and with my visual inspection upon receipt of the car.
Enjoying the car as much as I do, I clocked more than 6000 miles last season (including a great trip to Prince Edward Island). This meant the tires now had 10,000 miles on them and the rear tires were starting to feel a little worn. It was very subtle at first, a little chirp around a tight corner or a quick spin on a fast start. Given these signs I decided to start shopping for new tires.
The first place I started was the 993 forum on Rennlist (RL). As a quick aside, if you haven't been to Rennlist, and you own a Porsche (any type of Porsche), you owe it to yourself to check it out. The recommendations and opinions on RL were varied, to say the least. Like me, a lot of people felt strongly that you get what you pay for and therefore the more expensive tires must be the best. Thankfully, especially grateful was my bank account, I/they were wrong.
Tire Choices for a Porsche 993
Back in January I posted this article “Tire Choices for a Porsche 993.” As you can see I had listed the following tires as my choices:
1. Bridgestone Potenza S-02
2. Continental ContiSportContact 2
3. Pirelli PZero Rosso
4. Michelin Pilot Sport Rib
I even went on to mention the following two tires as cheaper alternatives but I was going to shy away from them as I felt “you get what you pay for.”
5. Sumitomo HTR Z II
6. BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW 2
As I said, turns out I was wrong. When push came to shove and it was time to pull the trigger to purchase the new tires for my Porsche, I did one last round of research. What I found was this thread which pushed me over the edge.
Sumitomo HTR Z III for Porsche
You see, when I was researching, the Sumitomo HTR Z III wasn't on the list (just the HTR Z II). It seems that with the HTR Z III, Sumitomo made some significant improvements. So, without wasting any more time, I went online to The Tire Rack and ordered four (4) new tires all for $700 delivered. That's a cost savings of almost 45% to my original choice of the Michelin Pilot Sport Rib.
My 993 was scheduled to visit the shop for a spring check-up, 30k service and brake bleed so I opted to have the tires delivered directly to them. After seeing the wear pattern on my old tires I decided to do a four-wheel alignment (they were cupping a little on the interior front edges) along with a hi-speed balance. This way, not only am I starting with a matched set of four new shoes, but I know they alignment and balance is correct. Assuming I keep the proper air-pressure and don't play too hard, I should get some significant wear from these tires. First Impressions
Since picking the car up I have turned almost 1500 miles on the new tires, each one with a huge smile on my face. The Sumitomo HTR Z IIIsare as advertised. They are very sticky, with a firm/stiff sidewall that handle great for daily driving (spirited or otherwise). I have not yet used them on the track or in the rain so I can't comment on that aspect. However, for driving on back roads, highways and anywhere else, I am most pleased. They stick as good, if not better, than any tire I have driven in the past. They seem to blend well with my stock suspension and absorb the bumps and pot holes quite well. I can't comment on road noise as I usually have the windows open or the revs too high to hear.
All in all, I am extremely pleased with these tires and would recommend them highly to anyone, for any modern Porsche, regardless of budget. We all know that there are lots and lots of modifications to do to our Porsches. So, if you can get a great bang for the buck with this tire, why not turn around and roll the money into another mod!! Keep sliding down that slippery slope.