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Winter tests on the buckwheat field

· 3 min read

This was originally posted on 2023-05-21 on Instagram

Back to four months ago when it was white and cold in Lithuania.

I was preparing for a road-trip to Sweden and wanted to test out the car with the "big spike" tires. We are really fortunate to have @petrassiauciunas who, if weather permits, does his magic by pouring water on the buckwheat farmland for a couple of nights and creates an ice track for everyone to enjoy. What is more, the track is on quite a hilly terrain. You can feel the weight of the car moving around when you go through the crests. Proper rally experience!

Back to the car setup. GR Yaris likes snow. But to drive on ice fast, one needs to find more grip. Grip on ice comes from the little metal thingies sticking out from the tire - studs.

It's is possible to use road-legal studded tires on ice track. Usually such studs stick out up to one millimeter. This gives relatively good control of the car but only for relatively low speeds.

For more speed, studs need to get larger. But for R18 wheels, the only option for larger studs are custom event tires. Such tires have studs that protrude 3-5mm.

Dackproffsen event R18 tires with 5mm studs

And now for the ultimate setup: competition tires with "big-spike" 7mm studs. The same ones were used in the #rallysweden 2023 and other winter rally events. This tire needs R15 wheels. For such wheels to fit on GR Yaris, front brakes need to be swapped for something smaller.

Pirelli Ice SottoZero J1 R15 tire with 7mm studs

Driving with such tires is nothing short of sensational. The first thing that catches attention is the constant crunching noise when spikes are digging in and crushing the ice below. The car can be easily positioned sideways, and also straightened without too much trouble as well. It really inspires confidence when you can chuck the car into the corner sideways and it quickly grips up and pulls out of the corner without any hesitation. Not the fasted way around corners, but definitely the most impressive.

The test day was a success. The car was ready for Sweden.

Big thanks goes to @tomasjatkevicius and Autokultas team for preparing the car!

Mounting tires at Autokultas

Photos by Deividas Visockas and