A larger footprint isn’t everything. Tires need to be designed to handle the challenge thrown at them. Sidewall, tread pattern, compounds, and structural design all factor into how well the tire performs in specific environments.
Side Wall: On modern vehicles, low profile tires have become the standard. Larger wheel diameters allow for larger brakes and lower sidewall profiles reduce roll in the body of the tire which helps with the tires handling capabilities. It’s important not to go too thin though as a super stiff tire won’t be flexible enough to grab the ground properly during launches. When shopping for tires it’s important to balance how you need the tire to perform in turns vs how well it will work during launches.
Tread Pattern: Tire tread pattern dictates how well the tire will grab the ground. Performance tires will have wider contact patches between the treads to ensure they keep as much of the rubber in contact with the ground as possible. Tires with tread patterns designed for track use generally do not perform well on the street. Performance tires aren’t designed to handle everyday conditions and can be dangerous to drive on in wet weather or other poor weather conditions.
Compounds: Different compounds are used for different conditions as well. Softer compounds are generally used for track conditions while harder compounds are found in street tires. Softer tires have better grip but will wear out faster making them better for recreational use than for practical daily driving.
Radials vs Slicks: Challengers are cars that will spend a considerable amount of time on the drag strip. This will leave many owners trying to decide on slicks or radials for their car. Radials seem like a tempting choice because many are lead to believe that they are better for street use. In reality, neither is practical for daily driving. Radials do use steel belts that reinforce the sidewall making them a stiffer tire. Slicks have sidewalls that are designed to collapse during launching. For Challengers with manual transmissions, slicks are the better choice because the tires will absorb much of the shock given off by the high RPM launch. Automatic transmissions will benefit from the use of radials as the lower RPM launch will be instantly directed to the ground.