For every project that started out as a purpose built race car, there is at least double the amount that started daily with “just a few mods”. This 2018 Mustang was meant to be a smooth cruiser, but the owner was bitten by the more horsepower bug and dove head first into the build, ending up with a supercharged Whipple V8 putting out over 900bhp and running a second. quarter mile of 10.6. Following the lead of many Mustang owners, he installed a set of Nitto NT555 G2 tires on 20 inch KMC District wheels with a pair of 255/35/20 in the front and 305/30/20 in the front. ‘back.
As Nitto’s entry into the ultra high performance summer tire category, the tires met the demands of the boosted Mustang well. Although this S550 no longer serves as a daily driver, it is far from a track toy and needs to function like a street vehicle. The NT555 G2 excels in this balance, meeting the sometimes complex and sometimes competing needs of a high-performance tram.
Grip when you need it
In Georgia, where snow isn’t much of a problem, the biggest environmental hazard to a performance car is surprise rain showers. During the summer, a weekend at a local Cars and Coffee event in the morning can quickly turn into a slippery ride home without much warning. The NT555G2 was designed with center and shoulder grooves that facilitate water drainage and wet handling, giving owners the confidence to shop in inclement weather.
From a comfort standpoint, the Nittos were better or equal to summer tires with original equipment. Road noise is minimal and the rubber absorbs road imperfections and bumps particularly well for larger diameters. While Mustang owners in areas more sensitive to harsh conditions might benefit from an all-season design, for those with milder weather (especially for a hobby car) an ultra high performance summer tire is a better choice for an avid driver.
For a high powered car, however, grip will always be an issue. Fortunately, this particular Mustang has been tuned to come to life higher up in the power band, with a predictable, smooth curve. Responsibly driven by an experienced driver, the Nitto NT555G2 deliver that power to the ground reliably and efficiently. Large tapered tread blocks and double center ribs keep the pony glued to the curb under spirited handling, in straight lines or curves.
What if you need more grip?
The temptation, of course, will always be to push the car to these last levels of performance. At 10/10, the 900 hp in this particular application is simply more than what the NT555G2 was designed to handle in many situations. For track performance in particular, the limitations of a summer performance tire are evident under gusts at full throttle.
Fortunately, Nitto has designed a tire combo for these specific situations. The Nitto NT555RII DOT Compliant Competition Radial Tire was created for the weekend racer to pair with the NT555G2 for street vehicles. By using the more conservative summer tire up front with the NT555RII on the drive axle, owners can push their car even further. In developing both product lines, Nitto adapted the tread pattern and size to suit modern performance vehicles.
All grip issues are resolved with the installation of Nitto’s drag radial at the commercial end of the Mustang. The high-grip compound and semi-racing construction provide increased traction at the start line, while large circumferential grooves facilitate handling in wet conditions in town or on the way to the race track.
The trade-off, of course, comes with a drive that is much more focused on performance than on comfort. Compared to a summer tire, the NT555RII will be stiffer and noisier, and will wear out faster. For a high powered car, however, the gains at the limits, and even below, are significant; better grip means increased confidence, which ultimately leads to a better driving experience on those weekends in the mountains or on the track, or just in town.
Are Drag Radials Right For Your Car?
Ultimately, the decision to incorporate drag radials into a tire / wheel combo is up to the owner and largely depends on riding style, and perhaps more importantly, horsepower levels. For production vehicles or mellow tunes, the NT555G2 Four Corners is ideal for the vast majority of owners. For those who want to push the limits of the chassis and have the luxury of another vehicle for everyday driving (or perhaps can tolerate the inconvenience of such a setup), a NT555RII wheelset in the rear can unlock a another level of performance capability in the S550 Mustang.
More Course of action
- Learn more about how Nitto NT555RII is the ultimate weekend drag radial!