DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2003) - From scorching hot temperatures reaching that of boiling water to literally riding on ice, the Bridgestone tires will battle every extreme at this weekend's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver. And the people from Bridgestone wouldn't have it any other way.
On the racetrack around the Pepsi Center, the Potenzas take center stage in the 15th round of Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Every Champ Car is fitted with Bridgestone Potenza racing radials, the Official Tire of CART and the Official Tire of the Grand Prix of Denver.
Inside Pepsi Center, meanwhile, Bridgestone is playing host for the second consecutive year to the Blizzak Chill Zone. Fans can cool off in the air-conditioned arena and watch demonstrations showing the superior performance of the Blizzak snow and ice tires in comparison to all-season tires when both are fitted on identical vehicles driving on the Pepsi Center ice rink. In between Blizzak demonstrations - which fans can participate in as well by signing up on site - the rink will be open for free ice skating.
"Fans will be able to go from one temperature extreme to another," said Phil Pacsi, Executive Director of Consumer Tire Marketing for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. "First, seeing the amazing handling of our Bridgestone Potenza race tires fitted on the Champ Cars on the outside track, and then experiencing firsthand the cool competition and grip on the ice inside the Bridgestone Blizzak Chill Zone. This ice driving experience is a true testament to consumers demonstrating how important tire performance is - even on one of the most extreme surfaces."
The Blizzak Chill Zone was an overwhelming success at the inaugural Grand Prix of Denver in 2002, in part because it provided visitors a respite from the Mile High City summer heat. Encouraged by that success and the excellent response from attending fans, Bridgestone has built the event to greater proportions this year.
Bridgestone has given away hundreds of "Free Friday" ticket vouchers at Firestone Tire and Service Centers, Peerless Tire and Tires Plus locations throughout Colorado, granting fans free admission to Grand Prix and Blizzak Chill Zone activities on Friday's first day of on-track competition. Among the Friday activities in Pepsi Center are a fan's question-and-answer forum featuring Al Speyer, Bridgestone Motorsport Executive Director, and other insiders from the Champ Car World Series from 12:45-1:45 p.m.; and the Champ Car drivers' fan autograph session from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Ice driving exhibitions will run concurrent with both the Champ Car fan activities.
In addition, a celebrity ice driving contest featuring Champ Car drivers, team owners and personalities will begin at 5 p.m. driving (during the autograph session) and continue until 6:30 p.m. Among those expected to compete are owners and ex-drivers Bobby Rahal, Stefan Johansson, Paul Gentilozzi and Emerson Fittipaldi, as well as current Champ Car pilots Paul Tracy, Patrick Carpentier, Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Hunter-Reay. In addition, at least one fan attending the autograph session will win a chance to drive against a Champ Car driver on the Pepsi Center ice.
"This is a unique and tremendous opportunity for the fans to get their favorite drivers' autographs, then see some of them in a more relaxed and enjoyable 'competitive' setting," said Speyer. "We know of nowhere else where this opportunity exists. The Blizzak Chill Zone was a hit with fans last year and those who saw the ice driving competition then enjoyed it, so we've worked with Champ Car and Grand Prix officials to make it bigger and better this time around.
"We believe Bridgestone makes the best race tires found anywhere and the Champ Car drivers will prove that on the streets around Pepsi Center this weekend," Speyer added. "Inside the arena, we'll also demonstrate one of the excellent passenger products Bridgestone produces, the Blizzak ice and snow tire. With the onset of the snowy Colorado winter just a few months away, we can't think of a more appropriate setting to do so."
BRIDGESTONE POTENZA FAST FACTS
Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver at Pepsi Center, Denver, Colo. August 29-31, 2003 - Round 15 of 19
Race Distance: 174.582 miles (106 laps on the 1.647-mile temporary street circuit).
Potenza Race Tires Supplied: Bridgestone delivered 760 dry-condition and 340 wet-condition Potenza race tires for use this weekend. All were produced at the Bridgestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per Champ Car World Series regulations, Bridgestone brings a single dry tire specification and a single wet spec, allowing every team and driver equal footing on the racetrack. * Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives seven sets of slicks (28 tires) for the race weekend, to use as its team sees fit in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Bridgestone Motorsport engineers selected their midrange street course compound for use this weekend. Seeing its first application of 2003, it features a slightly more durable compound formula than the Potenza tire specification run at the first three street circuits this season. This weekend's tire spec also is slated for use at Miami and Australia this season. * Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Bridgestone supplies each car up to four new sets of grooved-tread rain tires per race weekend on road and street courses, as needed. In addition, teams may use two sets of rain tires per car issued at a previous event. Bridgestone brought its street-course rain tire specification for this weekend.
Bridgestone Takes on Presenting Sponsor Status: Bridgestone entered Champ Car competition in 2002 as Official Tire Supplier to every entrant. The world's largest tire and rubber company increased its stake and profile in 2003, becoming Presenting Sponsor of what is now known as Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. Also this weekend, Bridgestone has been designated the Official Tire of the Grand Prix of Denver.
Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "The Denver track is remembered for being quite slick in several areas last year. Measures have been taken by track officials to address that issue, and we're hopeful the drivers will find more grip throughout the course this year. We believe returning with the same tire specification as last year is the proper decision because this Potenza supplies the necessary grip while retaining the durability necessary to cope with the high altitude heat we might see and the removal of traction control this year in the Champ Cars. As usual, the Bridgestone engineers will monitor tire wear all weekend and work with teams to optimize their performance."