Canyon Tested And Autocross Thrashed: The Yokohama Advan Apex V601

When you purchase a high-performance automobile, chances are you want to put that finely crafted machine through its proper paces. You want to press on the gas pedal and feel the rush of acceleration. You want to toss it into a corner and feel the G forces acting on your body. All of that high-performance design of the car and fun driving has to be transmitted through the car’s tires.

Unfortunately, OEM tires usually have to compromise for standard driving conditions — and the standard driver — leaving a lot on the table for the performance enthusiast. They can leave a lot to be desired, and you can’t always maximize a vehicle’s actual performance without addressing the tires. To unlock the potential, you need to look into the grippier range of tires known as ultra-high performance category. Good news — Yokohama has solved the problem for you.

Stunt driver and 3-time Baja 1000 class winner, Joe Bacal, puts the high-horsepower Dodge Challenger through the paces on the street and autocross to test the ability of the new Yokohama ultra-high performance summer tire: the Advan Apex V601.

A Tire That Fits The Mold

Yokohama has historical roots in performance tires. Specifically, it set the racing world on its head in the 1990s with the A008 DOT racing tire. For its newest tire, it took some of the great things about the A008, mixed in some modern technology, and created the design of the Yokohama Advan Apex V601.

Positioned between the Advan Fleva and the Advan Sport, the Advan Apex gives you the treadwear you are looking for and the right comfort, but still, it sits in the category of performance. The V601 is an ultra-high performance summer tire with a 280 treadwear rating and an aggressive tread design that will still work in the wet, yet give you that little something extra in the dry.

The outer sizeable tread-block design of the Yokohama Advan Apex V601 helps provide a lot of contact patch to the outer edge of the tire, providing great initial turn-in with the steering.

Carving Up Canyons

Joe Bacal put the Advan Apex V601 to the test when he took a Dodge Challenger outfitted with some brand new Yokos on it and hit the canyons and autocross course. He was looking to match the performance of the tires with the performance of the horsepower, tuned suspension, and big Brembo brakes on the Dodge. He found the Apex could handle everything he could throw at it.

Joe says a canyon run is a great proving ground to test a tire on the street as it has cracks in the pavement, bumps, potholes, and other day-to-day issues a car will see on the roadway. The Yokohama Advan Apex V601 is a street tire, so what better place to test it than the street? On the road, the Apex provided Joe with “a lot of grip” and encouraging feedback. It went where he pointed it and matched his steering inputs. He found a bonus of the Apex was the tires were not audibly loud (something tires in this category often struggle with).

The Yokohama Advan Apex V601 was inspired by Yokohama racing tires of the past, like the A008, but the V601 was designed for street duty. Joe took the Challenger out for some canyon carving runs to test the tire’s streetability.

Joe was happy with the Yokohamas on the street, but the tire had so much grip, he really couldn’t push the Challenger to the edge on a public roadway to find the limit of the tires. So, after carving some canyons, he took the Dodge Challenger to a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) autocross to really test the edge of the Advan Apex tires.

Slaying Some Cones

On the tight and curvy autocross course, the tires provided “great initial turn-in,” and as he drove the car harder and harder, the “tires didn’t go away.” The Dodge Challenger is a big muscle car to get through the extremely tight turns of a cone-lined solo event, and the Yokohama Advan Apex tires provided quite a bit of grip to help the big car change directions nimbly.

The Apex matched his steering inputs, and he didn’t find it to be excessive with oversteer or understeer. With a predictable breakaway on the edge, he was able to catch the car when he exceeded it. He attributes this feel to the large grid blocks on the outside of the tire.

For a good performance test, Joe took the Yokohama-shod Challenger to an autocross event to really hammer on the tires in a safe and legal environment. Here, with no speed limits, Joe could really get on the happy pedal and run the car hard.

According to Joe, “Putting on a high-performance tire, instantly changes the reaction of the vehicle. It feels better; faster in every way.” As he drove the Challenger lap after lap, he found himself very happy with the feel of the car with the Yokohama Advan Apex V601s on it. He drove the Challenger with absolute reckless abandon, sliding the car, tossing it from left to right, seeing what weight transfer would do to the tire’s adhesion and ultimately what he found were the tires were sticky and predictable. With the Challenger being a large vehicle, Joe expected the tires to saturate and go away toward the end of the day, but he was impressed with the grip that still remained.

Tire sipes (lines in the tread) are there to evacuate water. The V601 has one entire rib that doesn’t have any through and through sipes at the center of the tire, creating more performance for the tire.

Gaining The Advantage

As Joe thrashed the Dodge Challenger around the autocross, killing a few cones in the process, he found the Yokohama provided a lot of lateral grip. That grip comes from the design of the tire tread using large outer blocks. When you look at a racing tire, it has no tread on it, just a “slick” to provide the most surface area of rubber mating with the roadway. Obviously, a street tire has to have tread to address all possible weather and driving conditions.

A street tire has a tread design that is engineered to evacuate water from under the tire, so a hydroplaning situation doesn’t happen (and thus sudden loss of control in the rain). The Yokohama Advan Apex V601’s tread design allows for water evacuation but prioritizes larger sections of tread blocks to maximize adhesion of the contact patch. This design is what allows for the tremendous lateral grip Joe was enjoying out on the autocross course. And as you watch the video (above) of Joe racing the Dodge, he was undoubtedly enjoying himself.

At the autocross, Joe really got to run the Yokohama tires to their limit. The Advan Apex V601s were able to hold the big Dodge through the tight turns well and provide great feedback to the driver.

The Yokohama Advan Apex V601 tire comes in 44 different sizes with the radius ranging from 17-inch to 20-inch wheels. The testing of the tire showed a great balance of streetablility and performance. According to Joe, “The tires give you the treadwear you are looking for in the category of performance. It gives you the little extra edge you are looking for.”

Don’t believe Joe? Get a set of Advan Apex V601s and head to the canyon and autocross track yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

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About the author

Rob Krider

Rob Krider will race absolutely anything. He is a multi-national champion racing driver and is also the author of the novel, Cadet Blues.
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