Gear: Pyrometer And Durometer

By John Beltz Snyder

October 14, 2013

When racing, the status of your tires can make all the difference, especially as it is something that changes so much in the duration of a single race. Tire management can seem complex, but the right tools can give you a proper view of the condition of your tires. A Pyrometer and Durometer are the tools that can help you keep your rubber in check.
A pyrometer measures the temperature of your tires. There are infrared/laser and probe pyrometers. Both can help you determine if certain tires are heating up more than others, which could mean some suspension or weight distribution adjustments are needed, or if you need to adjust tire pressure.
The advantage of a probe pyrometer is that you can take the temperature at various specific parts of the tire. Measuring the temperature at different parts of the tire can tell you where there is the most friction. It can help you measure your contact patch, and make adjustments for maximum grip and control. Hot spots could mean you need to adjust camber or tire pressure.
Essentially, with a pyrometer, you can find ways to go faster. It can help diagnose problems with your setup. It can also help you fine tune your car to give you the maximum amount of grip and balance, which can help you find that added edge in a cat the that is already quick around the track. (See Longacre’s article on pyrometer tips, here.)
Some pyrometers, like the Longacre Deluxe Memory Tire Pyrometer, can track tire temperature throughout a race and remember them for multiple cars, and with a built-in lap timer, can really help you figure out where you can go faster. Good pyrometers will do a lot of the math for you, such as the averaging you need to do to compare different tires.
A durometer is important for checking and managing the life of your tires, and for choosing the right tires for the conditions. It measures the hardness of the tire, which can help tell you how close the tire is to wearing out, or tell you how much grip you can get out of the tire. The softer the tire, the stickier it will be, so a durometer can even be helpful when choosing from new tires.
To get an accurate reading, the durometer should have a good footpad so you can rock it on the tire, like this Longacre Durometer. Also, using a durometer in tander with a pyrometer will help you compare different tires, as a cooler tire will be harder than a hot one.
Watch the short video below for more on how to get a proper reading with your durometer.

Shop for racing tools right now at Winding Road Racing:
Longacre Economy Pyrometer
Longacre Deluxe Memory Tire Pyrometer
Longacre Laser Pyrometer
Longacre Durometer with Case