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|Tires, like the turbo charger, are
another area of what seems like a contradiction, namely
traction versus rolling resistance. The perfect tire
would have great traction with minimal rolling resistance.
In real life however, you cannot have the best traction
with the least rolling resistance. The reason is because
traction is normally associated with tire width and
softness. However the wider the tire the more air drag
and rolling resistance created, the softer the tire the
more rolling resistance created. This is based on the
amount of the tire that is in contact with the pavement,
the more contact, the more resistance.
Take a look at the tires on one of the salt flat high speed race cars, pretty skinny and pretty hard compared to what you see at the drag strip even though the speeds are about the same. The reason is because they are trying to reduce drag and rolling resistance to a minimum to achieve top speed without the primary concern of quick acceleration.
Drag racers must achieve maximum acceleration at the cost of increased rolling resistance to win races and thus the contradiction. Over the years new rubber compounds have allowed gigantic strides toward the goal of maximum traction with minimum rolling resistance but because no two race cars are the same, it is still a balancing act to optimize it for each racer.