This is not a track-day tyre, but it is excellent for road use.
BRIDGESTONE’S RE003 is an evolution of the RE002, with the outer bands stacked closer so that they behave as one large block. The sidewall is moderately stiff , with a pronounced rounding of the shoulder. The weight for the size I tested (225/40 R18) is 10.4kg, which is below average. Even before the tyres were run in, they off ered plenty of grip. Within the first 200km, the steering felt firm and meaty, which is surprising (and unusual) for a Bridgestone. The RE003’s centre feel has been improved to the point that it is on a par with the best tyres. And although it isn’t as incisive as expected, it still off ers a smooth and progressive turn-in.
There’s plenty of grip during braking and cornering. Get it right and there’s only a hint of understeer while accelerating out of a corner. If you push the tyres to the limit (on the correct line), they’re fairly quiet, but get your cornering line wrong and they emit a low-pitched howl. Straight-line tracking is excellent, thanks to the softer steering response, which also makes high-speed cruising less “nervous”. I found that the ideal tyre pressure is 34psi, as it sharpens the steering feel.
The RE003 is much better than the RE002 in the wet, as it gives the driver more confidence with its additional grip. Although there is some understeer, it won’t get out of hand unless you’re taking a corner way too quickly. The softer turn-in takes some getting used to, but this characteristic helps the tyre cut through standing water with more predictability, while again off ering good progression as you reach the limit. Braking performance is good, and the tyres work well with the ABS to reduce stopping distances.
In addition, the RE003 displays wonderful resistance to wheelspin when you’re gunning hard in first and second gear. One of the best aspects of this tyre is how it maintains ride comfort, even with pressures as high as 35psi. However, at 36psi, I found it becomes harsh over uneven roads, with no further improvement in grip. Lowering the pressure to 32psi gave a more pliant ride, but the steering felt slack and became less accurate. Bridgestone’s RE003 is not perfect, but it’s certainly close enough for the money. Its dry performance is particularly impressive, with good steering feel and decent ride comfort at higher pressures. In the wet, there’s enough grip to allow a harder driving style. Kudos to Bridgestone for delivering a Thai-made tyre that’s also competitively priced ($248 for the 225/40 R18 size tested).