CHAMPCAR/CART: Bridgestone extends relationship

Bridgestone Extends Champ Car Relationship INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 18, 2006) -- One of the longest and most successful supplier relationships in U.S. open-wheel racing will continue into 2007 and beyond, with tonight's news that...

Bridgestone Extends Champ Car Relationship

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 18, 2006) -- One of the longest and most successful supplier relationships in U.S. open-wheel racing will continue into 2007 and beyond, with tonight's news that Bridgestone Motorsport has agreed to a multiyear extension to serve as the exclusive tire supplier for the Champ Car World Series.

Series co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven made the announcement to an appreciative crowd at the Champ Car World Series Awards Celebration. The deal extends the partnership between Champ Car and Bridgestone that began in 1995 when the series was named CART and the tire brand was Firestone.

"We are very pleased to announce this multiyear extension tonight, on the heels of such a successful 2006 Champ Car season," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). "Having just completed the 12th season for the Bridgestone Firestone family of tires competing in the series, we have developed a wonderful partnership with Champ Car. We know now that the alliance will carry into 2007 and beyond, where we all can continue sharing success together."

"The Bridgestone brand has been an integral part of Champ Car's success and we are pleased to be able to continue our relationship with one of the top companies in all of motorsports," said Steve Johnson, Champ Car president. "Innovations such as the alternate tire have made Champ Car racing even more exciting for the fans and shows the forward-thinking mentality that makes BFNT such a great partner for Champ Car."

Bridgestone became the Official Tire of Champ Car in 2002, following seven years of tremendous achievement by the Firestone brand that included winning 70 percent of the races in five seasons before the competition withdrew. Regardless of whether it was Bridgestone or Firestone, the tires have been renowned in motorsports for their tremendous durability and consistency. BFNT has also set the standard for engineering and service in the paddock and pit lane.

In 2004, BFNT conceived and developed the popular "alternate tire" concept, where each car is allotted a minimal number of "softer," faster Potenzas (identified by bright red sidewalls) in addition to the standard specification tires -- making for intriguing and dramatic strategy decisions as teams decide when and how long to use each spec during a race. The concept took off like wildfire and, at Champ Car's request, Bridgestone alternate tires will again be supplied at every 2007 event.

"While the restructured contract does not include provisions for the Bridgestone brand to remain presenting sponsor of the series, we will still be highly integrated in many, many Champ Car activities," Speyer explained. "We will continue the alternate tire program, Bridgestone will procure official tire status at specific events, we will continue to host hundreds of guests at hospitality units at races, and we will feature new ads in the new and exciting television package. Most importantly, our ongoing commitment to design, develop, produce and deliver the highest quality tires for Champ Car racing has not and will not change. The Bridgestone brand will be very visible to the fans and teams."

About Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC:
Nashville-based Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to its customers in North America.

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Steve Johnson , Kevin Kalkhoven