The enterprising YouTubers Driven Media just put Formula 1 tires on a humble Toyota MR2.
Adding stickier tires is a way to decrease lap times and is often the most important modification for any track build. A set of Pirelli P-Zero Ultra Softs was used for this.
As shown in the supplementary how-to video, special hub adapters were machined out of steel to allow the centerlock F1 wheels to mount on the four-stud hubs of the Toyota. The third generation MR2 was specifically chosen for this task, thanks to its small brakes that would fit inside 13″ F1 wheels.
Arch liners were stripped out and a pinch weld on the chassis had to be hammered flat.
The results are visually impressive. Thanks to the size of the wheel and tire combination, the MR2 doesn’t sit particularly low.
Besides the clearance issues, thermal problems also appeared. The tires are designed to hit operating temperature when being lapped at race pace around a track on a Formula 1 car with four-digit horsepower.
In comparison, a 130 hp Toyota MR2 simply can’t get enough energy in the tires to heat them up properly. Instead, the tires remain cold and offer incredibly poor grip compared to a properly-specced road tire.
The team busted out a set of tire warmers to aid in the cause. With the tires heated up to 212°F (100°C), the grip level rises substantially, even if the MR2 can’t really maintain them at that level for long. Properly heated, the team was able to lay down a hot lap of 1:35.1, a full 3.2 seconds than an initial lap on-road tires at 1:38.3.
The total cost included £2000 for a set of the tires, £2000 to machine the hub adapters, £5000 for the tire warmers, and £1500 for the ruined Toyota MR2. In total, it was £11,000 Queenbucks ($14,000 USD)!
It’s not the first time Driven Media has experimented with weird and whacky tire setups. The team has previously run F1 tires on a Caterham, while also testing their own airless tires made from hardware store parts, with amusing results.