By: Tanner Watkins
May 31, 2019 | 8:00 AM
After enduring a long but rewarding month of May that saw Firestone Racing engineers receive the 53rd annual Louis Schwitzer Award for Engineering Excellence, Cara Adams and her brigade of tire techs are back at it for this weekend’s doubleheader in Detroit.
For the 2019 edition of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, Firestone is bringing the same primary tire that was used at street course rounds earlier this season in St. Petersburg and Long Beach. As for the alternate tire compound, the company will feature a modified formula while using the same tire construction as the primary tire.
“The Firestone Race Tire Engineering team is set for Detroit, rain or shine,” said an excited Adams earlier this week. “We are bringing the same race-proven primary tire that successfully handled the road courses in St. Petersburg and Long Beach earlier this year, and a newly-developed alternate compound that provides improved grip across Belle Isle’s concrete surfaces and lessens drop-off.
“We are also bringing back the Firestone Firehawk rain tire that we unveiled here at Detroit last year.”
As always, Firestone’s tires are specifically engineered for the surfaces, conditions, and layout they will encounter in each individual race. For road and street courses, three different types of tires – primary, alternate, and rain – can be used.
The black sidewall primary tire offers a competitive balance between speed, cornering, and durability. Firestone red sidewall alternate tires have a softer compound, allowing for faster speeds and better cornering, but with quicker wear. Rain tires feature a grooved tread pattern that evacuates water, helping to improve grip and prevent hydroplaning in wet conditions.
For this weekend’s events, teams will receive nine sets of the primary tire, four sets of the alternate option, and seven sets of rain – but hopefully we don’t need those! Rookie drivers will get one additional primary set, running their total to 10 sets.
In total, Firestone will supply more than 2,000 tires for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Practice for the NTT IndyCar Series weekend in Detroit begins on Friday with the first race being held on Saturday, June 1 at 3:00 PM Eastern. Race two will be held at the same time on Sunday, June 2, and both contests will be shown live on NBC.
Header image by Tim Holle/INDYCAR.
Open-Wheels coverage of the 2019 month of May at Indianapolis is presented by Driven 2 Save Lives. Driven 2 Save Lives, an entity of the Indiana Donor Network, is a program that utilizes motorsports as a platform to encourage race fans to become organ donors. Currently, there are 114,000 individuals that are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor at Driven2SaveLives.org/register and follow Driven2SaveLives on Facebook and Twitter.