Firestone Baltimore preview
Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 804, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires);
* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 366, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
* Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 468, each entry has five sets of the street-course rain tire available this weekend.
The alternate tire program, part of the IZOD IndyCar Series since 2009, calls for a second tire specification at a road- or street-course race weekend using the same construction as the primary specification, but with a softer tread compound to provide more grip and faster lap times while trading off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages. Firestone's alternate tires are easily identified by their bright red sidewalls.
The primary tires are the same spec used earlier this season in Toronto. The alternate is new for this year and will be making its debut in Baltimore. The rain tire is also new for this year, and this is the last time this particular spec will be used this season, as a different rain tire will be used if needed at the Motegi road course.
Per series regulations, all cars must use at least one set of primary tires and one new alternate set during the race, each for a minimum of two green-flag laps. Otherwise, teams are free to use their tire allotment as they see fit, though a new rule for 2011 limits cars to one set of tires (team choice of primary or alternate) for each qualifying segment.
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Firestone Racing is looking forward to our inaugural visit to the streets of Baltimore. With yet another tight championship battle, it's really exciting to have two road/street course events and two ovals left to round out the schedule. Additionally, two of those events, Baltimore and the Motegi road course, are new to the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Las Vegas is making its return after decade-long hiatus. For Baltimore, Firestone Racing engineers have selected the same primary tire specification that worked quite well in Toronto - in fact, cars there were a second a lap quicker on primary tires than the previous year's pole speed. The alternate is making its debut in Baltimore, and we're anxious to see how the two specs stack up."