Firestone completes two-day tire test at Indianapolis "Any time that I can be out at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you’re going to see a smile on my face.”
While it was 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon who said it, the sentiment could be attributed to any of the six drivers who tested on the famous 2.5-mile oval Sept. 29-30. The sentiment is also shared by representatives of Firestone, who requested the test session to prepare for the 93rd Indianapolis 500 next May.
“We’re testing at Indy because we’ve run the same spec tire here for the last two years,” said Paige Mader, general manager of race tire development for Firestone. “Preparing for ’09 there are some tires we couldn’t really make exactly the same as we made them in the past, so we’re looking at some changes, trying to get the good balance between grip and a good, safe, fast tire. We have both construction and compound specs that we’re evaluating.”
Feedback on the performance of the various tires came from Wheldon, 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and 2008 winner Scott Dixon, as well as Ryan Briscoe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan.
“We need to try and find a tire that’s going to be suitable for next year,” said Briscoe, who has two top-10 finishes in three starts at Indianapolis. “Firestone has a lot of tires for us to be testing. We did a couple of balance changes to get rolling, find a decent balance, then just try to do every run the same and feel the difference with the tire compounds and constructions and really for Firestone try and be consistent and give them clear and concise feedback on grip and tire wear and consistency. We split it in half. We do some performance running – four or five timed laps similar to qualifying. Then we also do some long runs, 20, 25-lap runs.”
Firestone also tested tires at Richmond International Raceway Sept. 23 and has a test scheduled at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Dec. 9-10.