I like reading about tires, particularly 200TW autocross tires so I was a bit excited when I saw that the new Dunlop Z3 tires are available on Tirerack (estimated shipping 3/16/18)
(05/18/2018: I added a blurb of my analysis of the most recent comparison test that I read in Grassroots Motorsports a couple days ago)
These were available in Japan last year as far as I can tell as they have been on Dunlop’s Japanese site since then, but I have not heard anything as far as their actual performance. https://tyre.dunlop.co.jp/tyre/lineup/sport/z3/
I’m going to assume that they will be a 200TW tire. The question is, will they be able to compete with the Bridgestone RE-71 and the BF Goodrich Rival S 1.5? I really hope so! I have no hat in the game. I’d just like to see more variety at the top.
Price-wise, it looks like
they are more costly than the RE-71's and a little cheaper than the Rivals S’s. EDIT: I was shopping tires again today and the new Z3 in my 255/40 R17 went from ~$225 all the way down to $175.52 as of 05/18/2018! They are now only $3 more than the Bridgestone RE71's. I checked across other comparable sizes and it seems that they have dropped for most sizes. So at that price point, they better perform. At the very least, I hope they match the grip of the RE-71 but give the longer life that the Direzza’s usually have.
My current tires (Fallen 615k+’s) will probably last me 3-4 events into the season so there should be some good data on these by the time I am ready to buy a competitive set of tires.
A couple of friends of mine have been co-driving an E-Street Porsche 944 on the Dunlop Z3's. They have been performing well as the owner has won the Street-Class in the two events we’ve been at together and also top the top PAX time at one event. So, it appears that these tires can be competitive at the local level at least.
I received my issue of Grassroots Motorsports this month and they did an in-depth article and comparison test of the Dunlop Z3 against the Bridgestone RE-71, and BF Goodrich Rival 1.5s. They also did another less in-depth test adding in the Dunlop Z2 Star Spec and Falken RT615K+.
While I am not going to cite the issue word for word (Seriously, get a subscription. It’s easily my favorite magazine and website), it appears that the Z3 falls a bit short overall of the other two.
It seems the Z3 is a very sensitive tire. If you have the right wheel width, alignment, temp, and air pressures, the Z3 is right on par with or even better than the RE71 and the Rival. But when things aren’t right, particularly with temps, the performance falls off much more than the other two.
It got a positive review on it’s driveability and feedback and is closer to the RE71 than the Rival in how it drives.
So, while the Z3 seems closer to the top than the outgoing Z2 Star Spec, its probably not going to be a popular tire at the national-level autocross events. I still haven’t seen anything on longevity though. If these can have a long life, I could see them as a decent choice for local/regional autocrossers who want some more miles out of their tires than what some other tires provide.