Kanaan, Rahal to test new IndyCar street course tires

Next week’s Firestone test day for Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan at Sebring will be to evaluate potential new street course tires that may be introduced to the IndyCar series as soon as the Toronto race in mid-July.

Kanaan, Rahal to test new IndyCar street course tires
Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Graham Rahal
Firestone tires
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet Firestone tire
Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet and A.J. Foyt
Firestone tire
Firestone tires

Based on feedback from drivers over the past several seasons, Firestone has long sought to increase the gap in durability between its primary tires, and the softer red-sidewalled alternates that offer more grip but have a higher rate of degradation.

Now the company has committed to testing four different street course compounds with Kanaan (AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet) and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda) at Sebring on Feb. 26, as the new aerokit is expected to induce a higher rate of degradation in general. The heavy reduction in downforce means there is less lateral load being put through the tires but the cars are more conducive to ‘skating’ across the track surface, causing a greater wear rate.

Cara Adams, Firestone’s chief engineer and manager of race tire development, told Motorsport.com: “We’re testing four different street course compounds to try a few different things. One is to try and limit the amount of drop-off on the primaries for tracks like Detroit and Toronto, tracks where there are different surfaces. You have a lot of concrete in addition to the asphalt.

“So we’re looking to see if we can find a primary tire that is more endurable over an entire stint and testing various compounds. Some may be in the range of what a primary would be and some may be a little softer, could be used as either a primary or an alternate, depending on what we see from the test results.”

While Firestone intends to introduce a new rain-tire at the Dual in Detroit double-header, June 1-3, the new street course tire would not come on line until mid-July – if then.

“The earliest we might use them is in Toronto,” said Adams, “but it depends on what feedback we get from the very first race of the year regarding current tires. The introduction may wait until 2019.

“We’d like to see how the current tires run in the first and second street course races of the season – St. Petersburg and Long Beach. Based on our own data and feedback from those two events, along with what we learn at Sebring next week, we can then decide what we introduce and when.”

There are only five street-course races (four venues) on the 17-race IndyCar calendar in 2018, with Toronto being the last of these. Nonetheless, Firestone is ensuring no advantage would be conferred to the Rahal or Foyt teams by its drivers being the first to experience the new rubber.

“We always try to share the amount of testing we do and limit the amount of times we use any one team in a season,” said Adams. “In fact, that’s written into the rulebook that we can only test with a single team twice. So what you might see is that someone who tests at Texas Motor Speedway for us will be someone who hasn’t got to test for us at Sebring, and we might have someone different again to test at Iowa Speedway.

“If it’s something like an alternate compound, we won’t tell the teams that tested it for us which specific compound we’ve gone for. So they’ll have tried several and won’t know any sooner than the other teams which one of them we chose to put into production.”

New IndyCar team Carlin Racing will share the Sebring track with Firestone on Feb. 26, with several other cars joining over 27-28.

shares
comments
Schmidt Peterson hunting for Hinchcliffe’s oval car issues

Previous article

Schmidt Peterson hunting for Hinchcliffe’s oval car issues

Next article

IndyCar’s Holmatro deal extended by five years

IndyCar’s Holmatro deal extended by five years
Load comments
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie Prime

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indy car rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in CART Indy car for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular teammate Mauro Martini's passion for racing.

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021