By Mike Garrison
Press Release from A Main Hobbies:
We had the opportunity to catch up with Robin Schumacher, a British manufacturer and very much a pioneer in carpet specific cars and tires (or tyres if you ask Robin). British racers have long enjoyed the higher levels of grip and cleaner, lower maintenance of the cars carpet delivers and there is no denying that the same benefits being realized in the UK are now being seen in the US. With the rise in popularity, here’s what Robin shared for our customers new to this form of racing.
What can you tell us about choosing the right tire for the surface of the track?
Choosing the right tire is probably the most important part of carpet car set up to get right. Smooth clean surfaces require a maximum amount of rubber to be in contact with the track and as with a clay track, a slick tire is going to be best. When water is present on the surface then treaded tires help to move the water out of the way. Generally speaking, some form of spikes or pins are going to provide you the best performance on carpet or Astroturf and choosing the right one is dictated by the “pile” of the carpet or turf.
Spikes or Pins?
A longer pile, more shag if you will, requires an adequate spike to dig into the fibres. More recently, tracks are installing shorter pile Astroturf for which a tire that has smaller pins would be the choice for most racers. Carpet tires require much shorter spikes and these are commonly referred to as pins. A pin differs from a spike in the shape and density of the tread. Pins are smaller, more pointed lugs and have noticeably more pins and points of contact around the tire. The Schumacher Minispike and Mini Dart are popular Astroturf tires.
We notice that a lot of the carpet tires have a higher profile, why is that?
A high profile tire simply rides the bumps better. The sidewall flexes and acts like an additional shock absorber which is important for tracks built on hard surfaces. The down side is that the sidewall will also flex as the car changes direction making it less responsive and more prone to traction roll. But just like dirt racing, there is a tire or a set up change for every surface and condition. The latest tracks are relatively smooth and the improved responsiveness and driving feel of the low profile tire outweigh the reduced bump handling.
If a racer is experiencing difficulty with traction rolls, what do you recommend?
As stated above, very high levels of grip may cause rolling. Set up changes including lowering the centre of gravity with a lower ride height helps, but you may find yourself bottoming out on certain jumps. To fix this with their tires, we used to see drivers trim the outer row of spikes off their fronts to reduce side bite.
Compounds are in important consideration in dirt racing, what about turf and carpet?
Choosing the right rubber compound is just as important here, but is less specific about the surface itself and more about conditions. Our ‘Yellow’ compound is our medium compound and the most widely used for dry weather racing on both Astroturf and carpet. The much softer ‘Silver’ compound works well in wet conditions, and the harder ‘Blue’ is a long wear compound.
We notice that you don’t include closed cell inserts as we typically see in the US, why is that?
Different inserts change the characteristics of the tire. If a spike bends over, the traction is ruined so carpet and Astro tires are made from relatively firm rubber to give strength and support to the spikes. Since the rubber is firm, the best support for this rubber and tread is a softer, open cell insert. On the contrary, dirt tires, are commonly made from a softer rubber and require a firmer insert such as a moulded, or closed cell insert to give the tire support.
Our first batch of the Schumacher Cactus flew out of our warehouse, can you tell us more about why you think this is going to be a popular tire for the upcoming season?
The latest development from Schumacher for carpet racing is the Cactus tire. It features a spike size and density optimized for modern carpet racing with a superior balance of grip and long life. It’s a hybrid of sorts offering all the best characteristics from the various tires we’ve developed over the years. For better control and feel, we’ve given it a low profile and molded ridges on the edge of the tire minimise traction roll. It’s for these reasons, our Cactus yellow has been chosen as the control tire for the prestigious EOS (European Off Road Series), Mibosport cup, and many more for 2018.
If you're interested in trying the Schumacher Cactus tire, click here.