Writing about the Bridgestone Potenza RE71R
Driving on a combination of roads
for 4000 spirited
I'm running these tires on a '98 Porsche Boxster. 225/45-17 in front and 255/40-17 in the rear. When I purchased the car, it came with a mismatched set of all weather tires that I took to an HPDE session at the beginning of 2019. Those tires were terrible and the ABS was constantly engaging. The first session of this year was at the same track and the difference was night and day. ABS no longer engaged, turn-in was spectacular, grip phenomenal. In my most recent track session, with the tire warn about 50%, I've seen cornering forces in the 1.4G range and the tire just sticks.
It appears superior to the Michelin PS4S for track use (the 4S isn't really a track tire) and in my opinion (and without having actually driven a car using them) the RE71R is closer in nature to the M PSC2, but at a much lower price. Keep in mind that the following comparison is made in two very different cars, so take it as you will. Comparing the RE71R to the PS4S (BMW Z4 sDrive35i 225/35-19 F, 255/30-19 R) the RE71R's wear faster, and run noisier (and as someone else mentioned the tire has a funny/different sound anytime it crosses painted lines). On the other hand, it has better turn-in, better cornering grip, and better feel. Also, it does not appear to heat up as much on the track as the PS4S. Keep in mind that the Z4 is a much heavier car and has a lot more power. Also, the Z4 is front-engined vs. the mid-engine Boxster which probably accounts for some of the improved turn-in for the Boxster. While the PS4S have now survived the equivalent of 5 track days with relatively little wear, there are a coupe of spots where the tread has chunked. With the RE71R's at 3 track days and an autocrosss day, the wear is in the 50% range and I expect to have to change them sometime during the next track season. On the other hand, beyond wear, there is nothing wrong with the tires; no track damage whatsoever.
I have no opinion on their wet weather or cold weather behavior as I live in Phoenix, AZ and if it rains I don't go out. We also don't track cars mid-summer because no one want to put themselves (or their cars) out on the track when it is 120F in the shade.
If money were no object and I was looking for a road only (daily driver, if comfort and noise were important to me) tire, I would go with the M PS4S. But for what I use the car for (mixed daily driver / track use), I find the B RE71R to be superior. I will also make the statement that I *think* the PS4S will outlast the RE71R even on the track (or maybe especially on the track) so, even though the PS4S costs a fair amount more, overall the RE71R's may end up being more expensive. I think that I will be able to get at least 2 seasons out of the 4S vs. about 1 or maybe a little more with the RE71R.
One last thought. I have the same tires on my '97 E36 M3 (225/45-17 F, 245/40-17 R) and I love them on that car. Even as a daily driver (I have not tracked that car in 22 years) I think I will stick with the RE71R's when the current set wear out. But that is just me. I'll take the slight comfort, noise and wear penalty to have a tire that I know will just stick when I need it to. And if I ever decide to take that car to the track again, I know the tires will be up to it. Perhaps in a colder climate I would not feel the same way, as cold weather and extreme performance tires don't get along. In fact, I will probably end up putting the RE71R on every car we own, for which they have the correct fitment (other than our BMW X1).