This post brought to you by Cooper Tires. All opinions are 100% mine.
In June, I flew to San Antonio to spend a few days with Cooper Tire at their test facility. Although I went on "business", the trip was a lot of fun and very educational for a guy who, like most, doesn't spend a lot of free time thinking about tires.
When I talked about the experience in June, I shared a video I mashed together from the event to give you an idea of how it went. This time around, I thought I'd share the video Cooper Tire created featuring me as well as some of my fellow bloggers.
This video gives a much better idea of how much we lit these tires up. People who know me well know I like to drive fast, so this was a treat for me beyond words. Even with my lead foot, I was urged many times to push it to the limit and make the tires earn their bragging rights.
Corvettes On Wet And Dry Tracks
One of my favorite parts of the event was getting behind the wheels of the dueling Corvettes to compare the leading competitor tires to the Cooper Tire Zeon RS3-S set. This was done first with several laps on the wet track, where I found my comfort level and learned to trust the tires. Control was not a problem on the Coopers compared to the competitor which didn't handle quite as well and I can't even imagine how my Dodge Charger would have done. It doesn't have Coopers on it and it seems like it gets loose on me any time I turn on wet asphalt. After the wet track, moving on to the dry track was even better. I drove a lot faster and I absolutely did not want to get out from behind the wheel when my laps were done.
Mustangs, Drifting, And Relay Racing
With the Cooper Zeon RS3-A on one Mustang and competitor tires on the other Mustang, we pushed these on the wet track just like the Corvettes and really got a feel for the feedback they provided when entering a slide and regaining control. Then came the relay race just for fun. In the relay race, each team member had to get their Mustang around the wet track as fast as possible, park within a box, and tag the next driver… all without losing precious seconds to toppled cones. It was a fun way to cap the wet track testing. We also tore around the dry track in a frenzy of drifting, whipping back and forth in the car while trying to keep down breakfast. Roller coasters have nothing on this.
Mud, Tahoes, And High Speed Off-Roading
After treating Chevy Tahoes like Mustangs on the wet track – which handled much better than I anticipated on the Cooper Tire Discoverer A/T3 tires, by the way – we tested the same tires on the very truck seen below by pushing it to about 100 Mph on a dirt track. The handling on such an unpredictable surface was perhaps the thing that amazed me the most during my trip. After being one of the last in the truck for the day, I checked the tires and they still looked great. The trip wouldn't have been complete without some rock climbing and deep mud tests. Dragging Jeeps through the mud was a dirty task, but one that kept with the pace of the other events, tearing through mud with no problems at all.
San Antonio was great and the whole experience with Cooper Tire was an invitation I would accept again in a heartbeat. The whole thing was fun with safety as a priority and it opened my eyes to tires I have since wished were on my car. Be sure to check out the Cooper Tire website and follow @CooperTire on Twitter.