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First question is what everybody else in the race is using. There are comparability issues with some sorts of tyre, you don't want to be scatting around with no grip because your tyres don't work in the track conditions produced by the other teams' tyres.

Assuming you can change wheels/ tyres, there's a compromise between with how much you gain by a tyre change and how much time is lost changing.

Generally softer tyres should give more grip, but wear out more quickly. How much difference that makes to lap time depends on the car, track conditions and maybe driving style.
Another variable is how sensitive the car is to ground clearance. With some cars tyres around the optimum size are important. With others there is little or no penalty in starting with more ground clearance. Starting with extra ground clearance means the car will run longer before the tyres are worn out. If the car is quicker with smaller tyres it can be worth starting smaller and changing more often.

How long does a tyre change take? Depends how you do it.
First tip - if you are planning to change tyres practice before the race and make sure the spares actually fit. There's a lot of laps to be gained by making learning how to do it quickly before the race.
With sidewinders and low angle anglewinders, it's quicker to change the complete axle / gear / wheel assembly. Simply undo the grub screw on the non-gear side, slide out the axle complete with gear and gear side wheel / tyre. Then slide in the replacement axle with the gear and gear side wheel / tyre already fitted - fit the new wheel/ tyre on the other side. The experts do that sort of tyre change in under 10 seconds.
With in-lines and larger angle anglewinders it is normal to change both wheels on the existing axle. It's important not to mess up the gear mesh. With anglewinders and in-lines where the motor shaft locates in a groove in the crown gear this shouldn't be a problem. If the crown gear isn't located, its worth adding spacers between the bearings so that gear mesh doesn't depend on accurate wheel position.
 
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