Firestone Opts For Alternate “Red” Rubber
A softer, alternate Firestone Racing tire compound promises to add to the strategy mix during the IndyCar Series’ seven road/street course events in 2009.
Known as “reds” because of their bright red sidewalls, the alternate tires are identical in body construction to the primary Firestone Firehawk racing slicks. However, the alternates feature a softer tread compound that yield faster lap times while trading off durability. Teams will have to balance speed vs. durability during each race, as well as the three-stage Firestone Fast Six knockout qualifying session.
Beginning with the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg street race, teams will receive three sets of alternate tires for the weekend with the requirement that one unused “sticker” set be mounted and run for at least two green-flag laps during the race.
Firestone pioneered the alternate compound concept as Bridgestone Motorsport at the 2004 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
“I think it adds a whole different level of competition to the sport because it’s so different. A lot of times the engineering is a lot different,” said Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, familiar with the reds from the 2007 Champ Car season. “For instance, in Champ Car the handling was completely different from the reds to the blacks (primary tire). This (Dallara/Honda) is a completely different car, completely different series. It’s going to be a new challenge.”
Firestone, which has supplied tires to the IndyCar Series since its inception in 1996, continues to develop primary tires for all 17 circuits on the schedule.
“It’s quite a task to develop, test and approve for use a second Firestone Firehawk tire compound for seven very different racetracks,” said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing. “But we believe, and many agree, that the alternate tires will contribute another element of excitement to IndyCar Series racing.”
– Indy Racing LeagueNo Comment