Firestone® Tires

Why We Race
While there are many reasons for companies to associate themselves with a sport as a sponsor or promotional partner, Firestone Racing is among a handful whose role as a manufacturer makes it part of the competition. It is a unique venture – to take a product and put it to the test in what is essentially the ultimate public laboratory, at the hands of the world’s most skilled and daring drivers.

View Interactive descriptions fo Firestone IndyCar Tires

Why do it?
The most obvious reason for any company to attach its name to a sport is the brand exposure. In that aspect, Firestone Racing is no different from thousands of other businesses. With the popularity of sports in today’s society, that association can easily translate into millions of dollars of exposure worldwide, and the rewards are obvious. But racing also allows Firestone Racing to build a unique brand of loyalty with race fans all over the country. When drivers stand in victory circle and sing the praises of their Firestone brand tires, consumers listen. Many of these same drivers are proud to say they put Firestone brand tires on their personal cars – a testament to the trust and confidence they have in the Firestone brand standard. Any athlete can lend their name or associate their image with a particular product, but that kind of loyalty is the ultimate compliment from someone who knows a thing or two about tire performance.

The Firestone brand’s involvement in auto racing has been an important part of the company’s heritage for more than 100 years and continues to be a tremendous source of pride for the entire company. Racing gives the organization’s teammates something to cheer for – a visible sign of the company’s continued progress as a technological leader in the tire industry. Our accomplishments at the track are celebrated throughout the company, and our facilities across the country are adorned with memorabilia heralding all that we have achieved. We love to race, and it shows.

That passion breeds inspiration, and Firestone will be back for many years to come – improving, evolving and testing the limits of performance on one of the world’s biggest stages.

The Firestone brand and the IndyCar Series – Beyond the Racetrack
Only one tire supplier has been there for every race, every turn, every pit stop and each and every nail-biting photo finish in the history of the IndyCar Series – Firestone Racing.

Building on a long and storied history that dates to the beginning of the sport in the early 1900s, Firestone Racing joined IndyCar Series competition at the inaugural event in 1996 and has been at every racetrack since. Following four years of competition with Goodyear, the Firestone brand has been the series’ sole tire supplier since 2000. In 2002, Firestone Racing expanded its role as a key promotional partner by becoming Official Tire to the IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the Indianapolis 500 – cherished positions the tire maker maintains today.

Firestone Racing does much more than supply its reliable race tires. The relationship between Firestone Racing and the Indy Racing League extends far beyond the racetrack to print and television advertising, promotions at Firestone Complete Auto Care Centers and more – even to the tires that might be on your passenger car. The Firestone brand again will have strong promotional ties to the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. At numerous events throughout the season, our company entertains hundreds of customers, teammates, associates and special guests to further fuel their (and our) passion for racing.

The Firestone brand will also unveil the latest versions of its popular television advertising campaign begun in 2007 by The Richards Group of Dallas, Texas. Previous 90-second commercials have focused on Firestone’s rich history in motorsports, particularly the Indianapolis 500, and this year’s 60- and 90-second versions will build even more upon that heritage. In this, the centennial year of the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the partnership between the fabled racetrack and Firestone brand tires is stronger than ever.

In addition to the television ads, Firestone Racing will continue its IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights “win ad” placement with prime media outlets, including Sports Illustrated and National Speed Sport News. Each ad features winners of the previous races and television “tune-in” information for the upcoming event. This not only increases exposure for our brand but for the series, teams and sponsors as well – creating a win-win-win opportunity.

Firestone Racing’s success also transfers to our consumer tires. For our company’s engineers and chemists, lessons learned at the track translate into innovations that can be applied to the design and manufacture of street tires – innovations such as wider tires for improved traction, lower aspect ratio tires for improved handling, new compounds for increased wear and better grip, and improved cord materials for more durable performance.

Through the years, many of these technological advances have made their way into the Firestone tires driven by consumers today, including those featuring UNI-T, the Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technology. This unique technology provides drivers better performance through features such as longer tread life, resistance to hydroplaning, effective dry traction, enhanced grip and other benefits. Our company continues to develop and improve technologies with UNI-T as the base for all future products that focus even more closely on what the customer wants.

In May 2002, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Firestone brand joined forces to pay tribute to their long-standing relationship by introducing one of the more visible members of the UNI-T family – the Firehawk Indy 500 street tire. This popular tire was the first functional automotive component ever produced for street and highway use with the honor of wearing the Indianapolis 500 name and IMS “wing and wheel” logo, another example of the benefit the Firestone brand has gained from its association with the IndyCar Series.

In many ways, the Firestone Firehawk street tire is a showcase of all that the men and women of our company have accomplished since the Firestone brand’s first Indy 500 win at the inaugural race in 1911, and all that we will continue to accomplish together in the years to come. And when another driver takes the checkered flag and dons the Firestone hat in victory circle, it’s not just another Firestone Racing win. It’s the culmination of a successful partnership between Firestone Racing and the IndyCar Series.

SEASON AHEAD
The Firestone brand’s theme, “A Tradition of Innovation,” could not have a more appropriate application than within the tire maker’s racing program. For a century now, including the past 13 years in the IndyCar Series, Firestone Racing has been designing, developing and supplying the cutting-edge tires to keep pace with the ever-changing technological laboratory known as motorsports.

Race drivers, teams and series are always raising the bar, and Firestone Racing has been there at every turn – relying on its unparalleled book of racing knowledge compiled over these many years and pairing that with a race tire development staff of engineers and chemists whose sole desire is to make the next generation of Firehawk racing radials the best ever.

That mission continues in 2009 as the schedule includes 17 different racetracks, each requiring its own individualized attention when it comes to preparing the proper tires for competition.

All racetracks contain unique properties in surface, banking, turn angles and track width. Firestone Racing’s renowned race tire product development group, based in Akron, Ohio, must design and develop tires that safely stand up to the demands of each circuit while providing the outstanding wear durability and performance consistency from set to set that teams and drivers have come to expect from the Firestone Firehawk tires.

The array of tracks is so diverse. It begins with the short ovals of Richmond, Milwaukee and Iowa which, while closely related in length, are light years apart in the demands they place on race tires. The group of six 1.5-mile ovals promises non-stop, high-banked action but necessitates consistent tire performance at those constant high speeds. Then there’s the granddaddy of them all, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2.5 miles of tradition and speed like no other.

Don’t forget the three permanent road courses, three temporary street circuits and one temporary airport runway circuit that have joined the IndyCar Series schedule in recent seasons. They require race tires with characteristics completely distinctive of the oval set in order to make both left- and right-hand turns, not to mention wet-weather tires in case it should rain.

An added bonus for fans and challenge for Firestone Racing will be implementation of the alternate tire concept at the seven road/street events in 2009. Under this plan, each car receives a select number of higher-grip Firestone Firehawks (“alternate tires”) to go with their normal ration of primary-specification tires. The alternate Firehawks, easily identified by their bright red sidewalls, provide a new element of racing strategy for the IndyCar Series because their added grip will provide quicker lap times, but by design will sacrifice some durability over the long run. All cars are mandated to run at least one primary-spec set and one new alternate-spec set of Firehawks over the course of a dry-condition road/street race.

Bridgestone Firestone developed the alternate tire concept initially for the Champ Car World Series and then introduced it to Formula One. It should add even more excitement to the intense competition witnessed throughout the history of the IndyCar Series.

So, the innovations continue at Firestone Racing – that’s a tradition we’ve had for a long, long time.

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