Flagship: The chief one of a related group; a ship that carries a fleet or squadron commander and bears his flag.
Toyo Tire (U.S.A.) Corp. is calling its latest offering, the Proxes T1R, a ``new flagship tire,'' meaning it has big plans for the ultra-high performance product.
It's aimed at high-end sport sedans and coupes-vehicles on which the company's tires often show up in venues like the ``Hot Import Nights'' traveling circus-mixture of youth, music, bling and, of course, the main event: hot cars dressed up with some hot rubber at the corners.
For a ride-and-drive event held in California earlier this year for journalists, the Cypress-based tire maker chose simplicity over long-winded discussions of tread compounds and computer-aided design parameters, opting to let its new tire do the talking. The company first turned the public relations microphone over to wise-cracking Kenny Sargent, president and founder of SpeedFreaks-the self-proclaimed ``Mod Squad of Motorsports'' coverage-and host of SpeedFreaks radio and TV shows in Los Angeles.
The gab meister basically passed out Toyo CDs to reporters, read a brief description of the new tire, then let 'em rip on several prepared slalom courses that pitted tire vs. pavement.
The Proxes T1R combines a unidirectional v-shaped center tread for water channeling-for ``exceptional'' resistance to aquaplaning-along with rigid shoulders for high-cornering grip, according to the company. The center tread and shoulder designs utilize computer-generated pitch optimization patterns that, Toyo said, significantly reduce tread noise throughout the life of the tire, which features silica compound in its construction.
The company said extreme cornering forces and a quick transitional response are accomplished by the T1R's broad, rigid shoulders that have a circumferential rib-band ``for superior handling both laterally'' and to reduce braking distance. The tire also features, below its surface, a spiral wound edge and cap ply with jointless construction for uniformity and high-speed durability.
Travis Roffler, senior director of marketing, said the Proxes T1R line has 52 sizes and, when complete, will encompass about 80 sizes. The new tire-available in 14- through 21-inch rim diameters in profiles from 55- down to 25-series-carries V, W and Y speed ratings with a UTQG treadwear rating of 280.