IRL: Indy 500: Firestone goes to colors

Firestone Making a Colorful Splash for 88th Indy 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 9, 2004) -- A trusted old friend to race drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone a facelift this May. But that friend can still be counted on, whenever...

Firestone Making a Colorful Splash for 88th Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 9, 2004) -- A trusted old friend to race drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone a facelift this May. But that friend can still be counted on, whenever and wherever drivers need it, beginning with the opening of practice today for the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

The Firestone Firehawk racing radials used by every team this month feature a bold new look on the sidewalls that includes a color version of IMS' famous "wings and wheel" logo, the words "FIREHAWK" and "INDY 500" in bold white letters and a red "Firestone" logo on the right-side tires for easier identification. The special-edition Firehawks commemorate the tremendous partnership built between Firestone and IMS, and mirror the Firehawk Indy 500 passenger tire that debuted in 2002.

"The Indianapolis 500 is full of tradition, color and pageantry," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Firestone Racing. "The special-edition Firehawk tires for this month honor Firestone's great relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League. We believe the colorful sidewalls will be an exciting addition to this year's spectacle."

Regardless of their appearance, however, the tires will deliver the customary consistent and durable performance synonymous with Firestone, the winningest tire in Indy 500 history with 54 victories. The cosmetic sidewall changes, applied with a new decal process, will not affect tire performance.

"The Firehawk tires come from the same compound/construction specification as those that performed so well here last year," said Speyer. "The same spec was used in last month's open test at IMS and, despite a 'green' track, a number of teams were able to put 50 laps on a set of tires with no significant drop in performance."

That's crucial, Speyer added, as teams familiarize themselves with the new engine and aerodynamic regulations put in place beginning at Indy.

"Drivers and teams have relied on the Firestone tire consistency over the years to give them a constant baseline when setting up their racecars," Speyer explained. "Now, with so many unknowns related to car performance due to the engine and chassis changes, it's more important than ever for the Firehawks to deliver that stable feeling lap after lap, set to set. We're confident the tires will do just that."

The new-look Firehawks were officially unveiled prior to the start of practice today, in a ceremony involving IMS chairman and CEO Tony George and Firestone Racing Project Supervisor Joe Barbieri. The special-edition tires are just that, to be used only this month and culminating with the crowning of Firestone's 55th Indianapolis 500 champion on May 30.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George