Capitalizing on its racing heritage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Bridgestone/Firestone will launch a Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tire this May that will feature the IMS logo on the sidewall.
It is among six new tires BFS plans to release in the coming months.
John Gamauf, BFS vice president of consumer dealer sales, announced the new tire along with other products during the Target Tire & Automotive Inc. dealer meeting, Jan. 18-20 in Greenville.
The new Indy 500 tire will replace the Firehawk SS20 tire, and will bear ``Indy 500'' in raised white lettering along with an Indianapolis Motor Speedway logo in black, according to Mr. Gamauf. The tire, which carries a 55,000-mile tread wear warranty, will continue to have the UNI-T technology that the Firehawk SS20 features.
``We worked in conjunction with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to support Firestone and we made a five-year commitment to the Indy Racing League to supply the (IRL) with tires at a very attractive price,'' Mr. Gamauf said. ``They wanted-which is what they've got today-safety, reliability and trust in our Firestone products.''
Don Seitler, Target Tire's marketing manager for the BFS tire line, was on hand when Mr. Gamauf introduced the new tire, and he believes it will be a big seller.
``We're pretty excited about it,'' he said. ``In the Southeast, we do very well with raised-white-letter-type of products. Certainly it's going to be a home run in Indiana. I think it's going to be extremely successful.''
The Indy 500 tire will come in 17 sizes, ranging from P175/70R13 to P295/50R15, a Firestone spokeswoman confirmed. Additional sizes are expected to be added later.
``My customers have all seen it,'' Mr. Gamauf said. ``I'm already over-selling my orders.''
The Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker also said the Firestone Affinity LH30 will replace the company's Firestone FT70C beginning in March. The premium mass-market tire will come in 20 H-rated sizes.
The Firestone FR380-an economy model that will replace the FR360 at a time to be announced-will come in 24 sizes and have a 55,000-mile warranty.
A new Bridgestone Turanza LS-T, available in March, will come in 28 T-rated sizes and have an 80,000-mile tread wear warranty. It also features the company's UNI-T AQII technology.