Some evening open tracks are less than half the cost of third party, organized events and can deliver nearly as much track time. A little bit of mechanical know-how can save hundreds, even thousands/year. Pagid RS29 pads will likely outlive your car and you, so good long-term value there. And the Kumho Ecsta V720 will deliver 99% of the RE-71R's lap time at ~70% of the price.
As one of the least expensive HPDE tires on offer, the Ecsta V720 has immediate appeal for cost-conscious track enthusiasts.
In size 265/35-18 the V720 is nearly $300 less per set than the aforementioned Bridgestone. The V720's price of $184.55 (via Tire Rack) looks damn good next to the new Ventus R-S4 at $237.64 too. (Side note: Bet the Hankook is worth every penny…)
The Ecsta V720 is even notably less expensive than the Nitto NT01; a longstanding go-to option for HPDE'ers on some form of budget.
Objective test numbers/results also favor the Ecsta V720. In Tire Rack testing, the V720 completed a hot lap in 29.35 seconds. The RE-71R bested it by just a couple of tenths (29.16), and our in-house fav, the R-S3 (29.70), was actually a couple of clicks slower than the V720.
Downsides? The test drivers accused the V720 of a "high level of tread noise," which most enthusiasts would probably forgive in light of the apparent value and performance.
However… Our research indicates that in terms of real world use, the V720 isn't quite all roses. In exchange for the low cost, there are performance and durability limitations.
More to the point, here's what happened to the V720 after one track day on a Golf R.
A thorough review of Tire Rack's V720 product description brings the durability limitation to light:
"Because its design focus is street use and specifically to excel in the short runs seen during autocross competition, the Ecsta V720 should not be driven on a race track."
If you're a true tire nerd you might be thinking -- but isn't the Ecsta V720 the original equipment tire on the Viper ACR, and doesn't that thing cream just about everything short of a Daytona Prototype on race tracks?
That would be the Ecsta V720 ACR, not to be confused with the standard V720.
Whereas the V720 ACR version is well and truly capable of extreme track use, the V720 not so much. A comparison of the tread on the two V720 variants reveals that they are likely fundamentally different tires. The ACR model being clearly more track focused.
Well, we think the pricing keeps it an appealing and viable option for certain performance driving applications.
Autocross, most obviously. The V720 is probably perfectly at home on a lightweight car (Miata, S2000, etc.) in an autocross context. And perhaps even certain time attack events where one lap pace is the goal, and sustained hot laps limited.
Less obviously, we'd suggest the Ecsta V720 is a potential entry level track tire for novice drivers. Once again, the V720's pricing is relevant -- it's even substantially less expensive than maximum performance summer options that are capable of occasional track duty, e.g. the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.
If you're looking to get a taste of semi-slick track tire attributes, but not yet pushing for the majority of HPDE sessions at an advanced pace, the Ecsta V720 could be a fit.
Probably not for our Z/28 on a July track day though…
All things considered, entry level track tires like the Ecsta V720 are positive for the HPDE scene. Yes, the V720 has its limitations, but in certain applications it's proven fast, and that should help keep competitors honest on both price and performance.
Learn more on Kumho's V720 product page.
See also: Track tires vs Performance Street Tires