Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R review
What is it?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is an extreme performance summer tire engineered for track use and autocross. The Potenza RE-71R is the current benchmark and flagship extreme performance summer tire from Bridgestone. In other words, the fastest DOT-legal street radial they've ever made, surpassing both the well-respected and massively capable Potenza RE-11 and Potenza RE-11A.
MinimumTread.com recommends that for a variety of reasons including road noise, comfort, (accelerated) wear, and sometimes edgy handling characteristics, extreme performance summer tires not be used everyday. Simply put, tires like the Potenza RE-71R are best suited for "extreme" conditions; track, autocross, and limited street performance contexts.
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R strengths and weaknesses?
Data shows that Bridgestone has managed to engineer even more dry and wet performance into the Potenza RE-71R. Tire Rack comparison testing with the Potenza RE-71R and Potenza RE-11A produced the following lap time results --
Potenza RE-11A 29.64 35.20
Potenza RE-71R 28.89 33.46
Time Delta -0.75 -1.74
Dry lap time gain is mighty impressive, while the wet lap time gain is scarcely believable. Especially considering the Potenza RE-11 and Potenza RE-11A are solid in the wet (relatively speaking). And keep in mind this is over only a ~30 second lap.
Has the performance gain come at the expense of on road civility? To a certain extent. We found the Potenza RE-71R to generate slightly more road noise than the RE-11 and Hankook Ventus R-S3 on the street. So certainly not grand touring tire quiet, but absolutely "streetable" in our view. The Potenza RE-71R creates much less road noise than the Nitto NT01, for example.
We also found road traction to be sufficient from the get-go with the RE-71R. While the RE-71R works best on track with plenty of heat, it doesn't have that cold racing slick handling unpredictability. We wouldn't hesitate to drive the Potenza RE-71R to and from a track day.
How does the Potenza RE-71R compare?
In most contexts and with most drivers, the Potenza RE-71R will outperform its Bridgestone predecessors and also the majority of the competition when it comes to outright dry and wet performance. The performance differential between the Potenza RE-71R and RE-11 has been verified independently by many enthusiasts. In this RE-11A vs RE-71R lap time video, for example.
In 2016 Tire Rack testing the Potenza RE-71R was pitted against three competitors, most notably the Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec. The Bridgestone landed at the top of the test in both dry and wet lap times, and delivered the best stopping distances and highest maximum cornering forces in all conditions.
In terms of outright performance, the Potenza RE-71R is currently at or near the very top of the tire category.
Anything else to know?
The Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 is still available. If you're looking to forfeit some outright performance for street-friendliness and civility, then the RE-11 may be your better option. Dreaming about qualifying pace? The Potenza RE-71R is your ticket.
In this informative Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R vs Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec comparison test, the Potenza RE-71R lapped 3.5 seconds quicker than the (to be fair) older Dunlop. The Star Spec never was, and is not a slouch though. There is no doubt that the Potenza RE-71R offers serious pace.
And while it may be more performance and slightly less comfort oriented than its predecessor, we'd take the Potenza RE-71R over the majority of category alternatives for the purposes of street & track use.
Trying to decide if a track tire like the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R is right for you? Check out our article Track Tires vs Performance Street Tires for help.
Before you buy...
Jump over to our Tire Deals section to take advantage of available tire coupons and rebates. Also, review our important Pre-Purchase Checklist for Tires to make sure you purchase a tire that fits your needs.