Firestone Racing engineers have developed an all-new rain tire for use in the IZOD IndyCar Series that is a significant departure from the type of rain tires that have been utilized for the past 15 seasons. With rain falling on the Bell Isle circuit for this afternoon's practice session, this new wet-condition race tire is being utilized for the first time today.
The new Firestone Firehawk rain tire's tread pattern is inspired by the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 passenger tire, and it will serve as more of an "intermediate" rain tire than its "full wet" predecessor.
"We always say that Firestone Racing regards our participation in the IZOD IndyCar Series as a giant laboratory," said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing. "This new rain tire is truly a product of that philosophy. It's unique in the fact that its tread design is inspired by the ultra-high performance Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tire, so it borrows from passenger tire technology. But it also contains new technology that we believe will one day make its way into passenger and commercial (truck) tires. It is a very interesting two-way technology transfer."
The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 tire is the Firestone brand's flagship ultra-high performance tire, offering confident handling on both wet and dry roads. As the name suggests, this tire's roots come from racing. Staying true to that tradition of innovation and fulfilling Firestone Racing's goal of transferring on-track advancements to everyday passenger tires, the new racing rain tire has a unique multi-stage tread-wear indicator. By law, tires sold in North America must have "wear bars" to indicate when a tire's tread is worn down. The tread-wear indicator designed for the new Firestone Firehawk racing rain tire goes beyond what is required by law for passenger car tires, and has seldom been seen in recent motorsports applications. It could someday make its way into passenger tire design, where it could be very appealing to performance enthusiasts who are always looking for ways to get the most out of their tires.
Like all of Firestone Racing's Firehawk race tires, the new racing rain tire was designed and built in Akron, Ohio.