Zestino – an international tyre brand you would not have heard much about only up until recently with its big marketing push and adoption down under.
Despite the European sounding name make no mistake, these tyres are manufactured in China but clearly points out “designed in Japan” as imprinted on the sidewall.
Just mentioning made in the mainland is enough to deter most JDM faithful and narrow minded alike but for the trak-life crew, we are happy to give most things a go (and it’s not because we are tight arses).
As mentioned previously in my Nexen SUR4G review, Pearl was after a 140 and above treadwear street rated tyre to compete in Aus Time Attack 2019.
The Nexen SUR4G are hands down a great tyre and would have been my choice for ATA if I hadn’t heard great things about the Zestinos from fellow track goers.
Since fresh rubber was needed for the event anyway, jumping ship seemed sensible enough.
Rated at the Clubsprint compliant 140 treadwear for the 07RS (also available in 07R 200 treadwear) suggested the Zestinos would also be grippier than the 200 treadwear Nexens on paper which is a bonus.
With ATA 2019 done and dusted and 3 other trackdays punishing the Zestino Gredge 07RS, the results speak for themselves.
1:07.5 in Pearl the S15 and a 1:11.4 in the Intima 86 around Wakefield is just the tip of the iceberg, both optimal times showed 0.5 to 1 seconds faster.
To our knowledge, there isn’t many (if any) S15’s running a street tyre and are street registered running below the 1:08 mark making Pearl one of the quickest out there which we’re pretty happy about.
When you think about it, the outright PB for Pearl is a 1:06.6 on Hankook Z221’s…
The Zestino 07RS definitely grip, there is no doubt about that.
Close to entry level R compound grip levels such as the R888 and NT01 which I have also used previously.
Unlike those R compounds however, the 07RS doesn’t fall off and overheat as quickly and was able to pull out 7 continuous hotlaps on a warm day.
To my dismay at ATA, it was discovered that the Zestino 07RS have a much stiffer sidewall than the Nexens.
Consequently Pearl suffered horrendous understeer due to the (unchanged) mild alignment setup, front camber was less than -2.5 each side – the 07RS was only faster than the Nexens by 0.1 seconds that day.
As redemption on a trackday shortly after with a revised alignment ( -3.8 degrees up front), Pearl then managed to shave off almost a second with the 1:07.5 time.
Sporting a similar track spec alignment, the Intima 86 also had no issues with grip and punched out a 1:11.4 time, not too shabby for a full NA 86 on the street rated Zestinos.
Price wise expect to pay mid $200’s for majority of sizes in 07RS which is very reasonable compared to the mainstream ‘bang for buck’ RS4, aging and reasonable expensive AD08R and the long waiting time “not really 200 treadwear” RE71R.
Having already seen the improvements and successes other fellow track goers have made with the 07RS from my recommendation is a great thing, we’re here to help you go faster.
There’s no denying I love the R compound Hankook Z221 which Pearl has performed her best with and that which has given my greatest confidence.
Using the street spec Zestino 07RS and managing a 1:07.5 was a huge surprise and a great lesson and experience – it made me understand, learn and push Pearl’s grip potential.
I’m confident there is a high 1:06 with the 07RS too based off the optimal lap calculations.
In comparison and hindsight, the Hankook Z221 is the tyre for ultimate grip and response which is what you pay for ($450+ each per tyre).
For outright PB, the Hankooks will still be my choice and now with understanding more about Pearls optimal setup and her potential, it’s scary to think how much faster I can go on the R compound.
This isn’t about the Hankook’s though, it’s all about the Zestino 07RS at half the price which allowed me to really enjoy pushing the S15 and 86 confidently around the track and re-evaluate how good a street tyre can be.
It’s an easy winner for me and a default choice for setting clubsprint (street tyre) spec PB’s!
If you’re interested in a set we are also happy to help, email us at [email protected]