In a time when several cars can be purchased new with more than 500 horsepower on tap, the attention falls to suspension, brakes and tires to keep these guided missiles on target. Just over two decades ago, DOT-legal advocates got the first in a line of tires bearing the ET Street name from Mickey Thompson (see Where It All Began sidebar). Since that debut, the ET Street line has added two more models and more than 40 different part numbers. Four years ago Mickey Thompson performed a complete revamp of the ET Street line, changing both radial and bias-ply designs in an effort to stay on par with ever-growing horsepower figures, racing class demands and driving requirements. The revamp also added two new names to the ET Street line up, including the ET Street S/S.
The ET Street S/S model marks the fourth version of the ET Street radial that first hit the scene in 2003.
“In early 2014, we discussed wanting to bring out additional sizes for the ET Street radial,” said Jason Moulton, Product Development Manager for Mickey Thompson. “The modern muscle cars and trucks have demanded it. But by adding those sizes to the ET Street II radial tire line while knowing we could create a better tire, it seemed as if we would be pushing off evolution.” So instead, Mickey Thompson decided to address the demands with a fresh design. “We tried to gear the new ET Street S/S tire even more towards a street car that also races at the track,” Moulton said. “The biggest external change was additional grooves to help in wet conditions.”
Although the original ET Street radial targeted the popular 15-inch diameter size when it debuted, Mickey Thompson widened its focus on the S/S version.
“Most customers with larger-diameter wheels don’t have another set of rims and tires for the track,” said Moulton. “That’s what originally prompted the ET Street II, and is carried on with the new ET Street S/S.” The new tire is available in eighteen different sizes, from the staple 15-inch diameter rim to the 20-inch diameter wheel of modern muscle cars.
While replacing the proven ET Street radial tire with a new design might create some outcry, Mickey Thompson didn’t forget to bring some winning features into the new tire.
“We were very conscious of the original ET Street radial features on the track, and we didn’t want to take that away,” said Moulton, hinting at the success the original ET Street radial has enjoyed in several classes, including the NMCA Edelbrock Xtreme Street and NMRA Edelbrock Renegade. “The S/S product strives for better street performance, but it will still perform like the original ET Street radial. The S/S model is a continuation of the first ET Street radial, and although it is a little different than a normal street radial, it is still true to its radial roots.” The S/S, while legal in Xtreme Street, Renegade, and the new NMRA ProCharger Modified Street categories, has found a home in NMRA Limited Street as the base tire.
A few of the features that carry over to the new tire include the steel-belted tubeless design, as well as the proven R2 compound that brings excellent traction with a minimal burnout.
“The ET Street S/S is targeted for a car with a 70-percent balance of street use compared to 30-percent track use,” said Moulton. “We also recognize there are cars geared more towards racing, but also driven occasionally on the street. Our new ET Street R tire is aimed at that market and available in bias-ply and radial versions” (see R is For Race sidebar). Will these new tires usher in a successful third decade of the ET Street name? That answer waits at the starting line during the 2019 racing season with several NMRA and NMCA categories ready to showcase the capabilities of the various ET Street radials that Mickey Thompson carries in its catalog.
Where It All Began
Although the ET Street name has been getting a lot of attention for the radial version, the original ET Street that signaled a radical change to the D.O.T. tire market wasn’t a radial design.
“The first ET Street was a bias-ply design, basically a slick with some grooves in it that passed all D.O.T. requirements,” said Moulton. “It is a street and strip tire, but geared more towards the strip. The thought process that went into the ET Street is to run the groove around the circumference of the tire. It also allowed longer tread life versus the Sportsman Pro model, which could start to feather the tread much earlier than the ET Street.” The tire ushered in an era of where single-digit times usually only seen on slicks were now achievable on D.O.T. legal tires. Even though drag radials were introduced to the tire market not long after the ET Street debuted, the original bias-ply tire is still used by thousands of racers.
R is For Race
While the new ET Street S/S leans towards a vehicle that spends a little more time on the street than the strip, Mickey Thompson didn’t forget to bring a tire with a little more track savvy to the table.
“The S/S is targeted to the street car that also goes to the race track,” said Moulton. “For race cars that also get driven on the street, we created the new ET Street R line.” Available in radial and bias-ply construction, the ET Street R line incorporates the technology used in the popular ET Street Radial Pro tire. “The ET Street Radial Pro is designed for certain racing classes and not really designed for street use,” said Moulton. “The ET Street R addresses that with more streetability.” The bias-ply ET Street R also features a stiffer sidewall over the original ET Street bias-ply tire, and is recommended for manual transmission vehicles.
The ET Street R is the tire of choice in three NMRA/NMCA categories, including Edelbrock Renegade, Edelbrock Xtreme Street, and the new ProCharger Coyote Modified class.
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels