Welcome to the latest update on our ‘Save the ST170’ project in conjunction with Machine Mart, where we are breathing new life into a Ford Focus ST170. After the recent servicing work in the engine bay, this update sees us make the first performance upgrade by fitting a full set of Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres.

man fitting new Toyo tyre to a wheel

We opted for Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres for our Ford Focus ST170 project.

Why choose Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres?

When it comes to tyres, there are many choices available. Options available cover a wide range of budgets with offerings from a selection of different well-known (and some not-so-well-known!) brands. Some are designed for handling and performance. Some are designed to be as cheap as possible. And winter tyres are even designed to be used in snow and ice. So, why did we opt for Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres?

Well, there are several reasons…

wheel having a new tyre fitted

New tyres will work in harmony with the planned suspension and braking upgrades.

Toyo is a Trusted Brand

Having fitted Toyo tyres on many personal and project cars in the past, we know first-hand that they offer enthusiastic drivers a high-quality product at an affordable price. We’ve fitted Toyo’s semi-slick track-day tyre, the famous R888R to many previous projects, but for the Ford Focus ST project, we wanted something a little less uncompromising. Yes, we wanted summer tyres that provide excellent grip in dry conditions, but not at the expense of wet-weather performance or excessive road noise.

close up image of a tyre with EU labelling

We chose to stick to the factory sizes – 215/40/R17.

Wide Range of Tyre Sizes

We aren’t planning to swap the wheels on our Ford Focus ST170. The original multispoke design suits the ST170s understated and subtly sporty styling perfectly. Therefore, we want new tyres that will replace the OE fitment. In our case, that’s 215/45R17. Sticking to the factory sizes means we’re working in harmony with the original specifications the SVE team settled on when designing the car. It also means that we’re giving any suspension upgrades we make later the optimal base to work from.

fitting a wheel and tyre to Ford Focus ST170

New tyres have already made a positive impact on how the car drives.

Toyo Proxes TR1 Tread Pattern Design

The Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres boast a unique tread pattern that blends form with function. Featuring an aggressive asymmetric tread pattern with open lateral slits, long slant grooves, and wide straight grooves provides improved performance in wet conditions. Meanwhile, the high-stiffness rib and taper slits play a vital role in increasing stability and enhancing handling on dry roads.

In addition, a clever wear indicator system lets you clearly see when it’s time for some new boots. Meaning you can take advantage of the exceptional handling and grip right throughout the life of the tyre. Finally, the unique and aggressive tread pattern certainly looks the part too.

close up of tyre label on Toyo tyre

Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres have excellent performance ratings.

Great Ratings

Since the introduction of the ‘white goods’ style EU labelling system was ported across to the world of tyres, comparing the performance of one tyre against another has never been easier. The TR1 has a B rating rating for wet performance, so we know it will perform well in typically British weather conditions. It also has a noise rating of just 70db, meaning it’s quiet and non-intrusive at motorway speeds. Both of which are perfect for what we need.

However, don’t be fooled by all the figures in the tyre labelling system. What the label says is fuel efficiency is technically a measure of rolling resistance. The higher the rolling resistance, the more fuel required, and therefore the lower the rating given. But – and this is a big but – higher levels of grip will give a higher rolling resistance.

Now, we’re not looking to compromise performance for economy here, and we deem the D rating for fuel efficiency as a good thing. It means the tyre is grippy. And that’s precisely what we want!

Ford Focus ST170 parked in front of tyre fitting workshop.

Tyres all fitted and ready for action. Now it’s time to upgrade the suspension and brakes to suit.

Fitting the Toyo TR1 tyres to our Ford Focus ST170 project

So, we ordered a set. And as soon as they arrived we loaded them in the boot and headed to our local tyre fitters to have them fitted. It’s too early to give any meaningful feedback just yet, but already the car felt more stable and better planted. We’ve not driven the car in the wet yet, but we’ll give our thoughts and verdict as soon as we have.

In the meantime, the car is back in the Ford Parts R Us workshops. Over the next week or so we’ll be fitting new brakes and various suspension upgrades. When they’re all complete, they will work hand-in-hand with the new TR1 tyres to transform the handling performance of our latest project car.

Next up will be a complete overhaul of the brakes, along with some upgraded discs and pads along the way. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to update and improve this forgotten fast Ford while preserving its original charm and appeal.

Read Part 4 here!

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Check out previous instalments of our Save the ST170 project!