Firestone has developed the next generation of wet-weather tires for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
IndyCar has unveiled a new rain for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio, the 14th round of the 2015 season. The newly developed tire by Firestone has been a long-time coming in an effort to improve on the previous wets that were introduced last year.
The key features of this new rain tire is it’s a new tread compound optimized for wet grip.
Bridgestone's Dale Harrigle
The tire can easily be spotted with a silver stripe running along the sidewall. The tires have not changed in terms of tread pattern and depth and wear is also expected to be similar to the former, softer wet-weather tire.
“There are a lot of things we’re doing behind the scenes to make sure we’re putting the best possible product on the racetrack," said Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone America’s Motorsports and manager of race tire development. "For the first time, we used a lot of our company’s internal tools to look at the compound on a small scale.
"Experimental compounds were run through a wet friction test to evaluate which had the most wet traction. Then a handful of tires were built and taken to Bridgestone’s proving grounds in Texas for wet traction testing in addition to “other machines in-house that we can run full-size tires on to evaluate wet traction,” Harrigle explained.
“We took all of those tests and boiled it down to which compound performed the best and that’s the compound we picked for this rain tire,” he said in conclusion.
“We optimized the tire to better fit wet conditions. We did that virtually through 48 different simulation cases on the front and rear tires and came up with the construction we wanted to use.
“The key features of this new rain tire is it’s a new tread compound optimized for wet grip. A silver stripe was added to the sidewall so it’s easier for the fans and teams to identify who is on rains, who is on primaries and who is on alternates.”
Despite being made available to all teams, the tires will likely remain on the sidelines with a sunny and hot weekend in the forecast for Mid-Ohio.