Kumho Tire U.S.A. Corp. is focusing on grassroots racing with its return to the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) as a contingency sponsor after a year's absence.
As a sponsor, the tire maker will offer awards to the top finishers in each class who race on Kumho tires.
Last year, as Kumho was hit hard by the recession, the company slashed its motorsports budget by more than half, down from the approximate $3 million it invested in 2008, and eliminated its SCCA contingency program and contract drivers.
The company, which has been involved with the SCCA for 17 years, also is continuing to sponsor drivers in short course off-road racing in the Traxxas Off-Road Championship (TORC) series.
Kumho said it will offer contingency awards for SCCA Regional Club Racing and National Solo Racing. The SCCA sanctions regional club racing events on weekends throughout the year.
We are continuing the program for regional-level club racers and re-introducing a program for solo racers, said Rudy Consolacion, Kumho motorsports manager.
We've added an interesting twist to the solo program this year. For the street tire classes, we will pay out double the amount to racers that use any of Kumho's ultra-performance street tires such as the Ecsta XS.
The awards will consist of product award vouchers toward the purchase of Kumho tires from participating dealers. Competitors must run on four Kumho tires and display two decals on the vehicles to qualify.
The Solo National Tour includes eight events and the Pro Solo National Series features seven events, with both tours culminating in a joint finale event in Lincoln, Neb., at the end of the season. Kumho invites its area tire dealers to set up displays at local events, Mr. Consolacion said.
Kumho will sponsor several drivers in the TORC series, including Ricky Johnson in his Kumho Tire/Red Bull Ford truck in Pro 2WD; Scott Douglas and Steve Barlow in the Pro 4 class; Chad Hord in the Pro 2 class; and Luke Johnson, son of Ricky Johnson, in the Pro Light class.
The first race of the 2010 TORC season is May 1-2 at the USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz.
This year, the tire maker has maintained the same reduced budget as in 2009 for motorsports, opting to only participate in SCCA and TORC as it gets back in slowly with motorsports sponsorships, according to Mr. Consolacion. He said the company is splitting its budget between grassroots racing and off-roading events.
Copyright 2010 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.