Kumho Tire USA Inc. has developed a drifting version of its Ecsta MX high-performance tire line that produces red smoke during burnouts or drifts.
Launched at the May 6-7 Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta, the Ecsta MX-C was developed at Kumho's technical center in Akron. Kumho produced chemical combinations to produce red and blue smoke and has patents pending.
The Florida-based Enjuku Racing team used the tire after testing it in mid-April. A Kumho spokesman said the debut has already spurred Internet discussions among racing fans.
``When we saw the red smoke boiling off the rear tires, we just stood there and stared in awe,'' said Matt Vassallo, the team's lead driver and captain. Enjuku Racing competes in events sanctioned by Formula D, World Drift Challenge and D1GP, racing primarily Nissan 240SX cars.
The special version of the tire won't be sold to the general public, Kumho said. ``We built them to demonstrate our forward thinking, technical capabilities and ability to respond quickly to the market,'' said Rick Brennan, Kumho's director of brand management.
The Fontana-based firm's entrance into drifting with the Enjuku Racing team is another step in its growing involvement in motorsports.
``We've been evaluating the sport of drifting for the last few years,'' said Rudy Consolacion, Kumho's motorsports manager. ``Drifting is really popular among import car enthusiasts, and Kumho is a popular brand with that crowd. We were looking for the right time and the right opportunity to get involved with drifting, and the right time and opportunity have arrived.''