The Firestone Firehawk SZ50 next to its Indy car cousin.
(NUI) - Automotive companies involved in motor sports have always touted their racing programs and talked about how they lead to the development of products for the average consumer. It's an advertising message as old as the sport itself.
But if you've ever wondered how much of the talk is real and how much is marketing hype, you should take a look at a new tire being introduced by Firestone.
"Born of Indy, Driven Everywhere" has been an advertising theme for the Firestone Firehawk performance tire line for the past year.
Now the company is introducing a Firehawk ultra-high-performance tire derived directly from its Indy racing program. Aside from their size difference, the tires appear nearly identical when placed side by side.
The new Firehawk SZ50 provides outstanding traction in wet conditions with a water-channeling tread pattern descended from the original Indy rain tire.
"The Firehawk SZ50 serves as a bridge between our Indy program and the new era of Firestone as a technological leader," said Firestone Brand Manager Mike Van Sickler.
Firestone has a long and proud history at the Indy 500, winning the very first race in Indianapolis in 1911 and going on to achieve an unmatched record of 48 wins.
The company pulled out of Indy car racing in 1974 and suffered a slow decline in the marketplace during the 70s and 80s. But in 1995, Firestone came back to Indy car racing in a big way, winning two races. Firestone also has been a dominant force this year, including victories at the prestigious Indy 500 (upping its wins to 49) and the U.S. 500, both held on Memorial Day weekend.
In addition to the "Power V" water-channeling tread pattern, the Firehawk SZ50 also includes Five Pitch Noise Reduction Technology (5¼NR), a tire noise treatment that uses an alternating tread block design. 5¼NR creates specific sound phases that cancel each other out. This results in a quieter tire, which can often be a problem with the ultra- high-performance tires with aggressive tread patterns. The Firehawk SZ50 is available at Firestone retailers nationwide