08 April 2011|
The legendary Falken Azenis line needs little introduction but the tire that you thought you knew is different from what you might expect. While the Azenis RT-615 carved out a great reputation over the last few years, it has been updated with the new RT-615K. While we can’t say this is an “all-new” tire because it basically looks the same, all of its innovative features are lurking beneath the skin. We recently had a chance to talk with Advertizing and Creative Director, James Yim and asked him the important questions about this motorsports staple.
“The tread pattern is essentially the same as years past with some minor tweaks.” Said Yim. “Underneath is an all new structure and compound that will improve cornering and reduce rotating mass.”
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Last year we logged many miles on and off-track with this DOT competition tire to get a solid feel for every condition. First off, the Azenis RT-615K provides loads of dry grip lap after lap without dispute. Since we were running a lightly modded NA car, we could run for several consecutive laps and the tire feels as capable on its first lap as it does on its last. Only when trying some ridiculous cornering heroics were we able to get the sticky tire to break loose, but only momentarily before it hooked back up. The tire rarely protested with an audible warning and we find some tires are just too noisy in this regard screaming well before their limit, not the case with the RT-615K. The turn-in was crisp with the stiffer sidewall and even when the tire exceeded 66°C (150°F), it still maintained grip
•Made in Japan
•225/40R18 & 265/35R18
•Y-Speed Rated (186 mph or 300 km/h)
These advantages are all a due to the new construction and compound. The RT-615K features a solid center rib to minimize wheel slip under acceleration, especially when hammering the gas out of a turn. The improved casing design, bead apex and turn-up technology means that less heavy steel belting was needed to achieve the improved stiffness. The end result is an 8-percent reduction in rotating mass, which helps get the car out of the corners much quicker. The 8/32-inch tread depth and the tusk positioning, channel away water and reduce hydro-planing for wet weather performance.
As with most performance tires, they tend to be noisy and wander as the norm. With the RT-615K, the effect was minimal in our open-air convertible and the vehicle tracked straight and true. With a 200 wear rating, you can expect some decent life out of these tires and you won’t have to go through a set every season, but that all depends on just how hardcore an enthusiast you are.