Are Drag Radials Good For Handling?

Enjoy taking your car out on some winding back roads every so often or hit the local autocross track? Don’t worry you’re not alone! 


Nothing compares to having a car with some power that you can get very in tune with the road while busting down some open back roads with some nice curves, within the speed limit of course.


While it is always a good time carving corners in a sports car, you need the right tires to be able to effectively put the power to the ground. At one point or another we’ve all experienced the tires letting loose (by accident), and it can be a scary feeling, especially mid turn.   


When it comes to high performance tires, drivers often ask, are drag radials good for handling or autocross?  While most may think that they would be due to their soft and grippy tread compound, the truth of the matter is they are not. 


Despite their natural stickiness, it is common to feel drag radials handling like a boat when pushed hard in turns. Typically the softer the drag radial, the worse they will perform in a handling situation.


Drag radials, as their name implies, and best for drag racing and aggressive straight line driving.  The reason for this is because they have a softer sidewall that promotes increased straight line traction. 


Drag radials are able to “wrinkle” the sidewall,as shown in the image below, allowing them to get the straight line traction needed to launch from a dead stop.  


**Insert Tire Wrinkle Image**


This would not help you driving aggressively around corners as your car will start to feel sloppy.


The Best Option?


If you are looking for a tire that combines the best of both worlds however, look no further than the Toyo R888. This tire is the closest thing you will get to a drag radial for autocross or spirited driving down some winding back country roads.


This tire has proven itself time and time again to be a performer not only going around turns, but can certainly hold its own when going in a straight line. 


The R888 has a more rigid sidewall, similar to that of a standard street radial while providing more than adequate grip when you need it to. The R888 has a similar sticky tread compound to the Toyo TQ which will help in straight line acceleration as well as keeping you planted during turns. 

Between the stiffer sidewall and stickier tread, the R888 is a popular option with manual, moderately high horsepower cars like the 03-04 Mustang Cobra and Corvette. 


To learn more about the Toyo R888, read our complete product review. 




So while drag radials aren’t the best option for your corner carver, you do have options.  The Toyo R888 is a great tire that can not only help you get out of the hole quickly, but can keep you firmly planted to the road during some intense cornering.  



Auto cross on drag radials 

Drag radials for autocross