Firestone Motegi preview
Race Distance: 187.929 miles/302.442 kilometers (63 laps around the 2.983-mile/4.801-km 14-turn permanent road course).
Television/Radio Broadcast: Live - Saturday, September 17, at 11:30 p.m. ET on VERSUS, the IMS Radio Network and XM Radio 94 and Sirius Radio 212.
Firestone Firehawk Race Tires Supplied:
* Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 748, each entry gets six sets (24 total tires) with one additional set for rookies and entries outside of the top-10 in points;
* Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 342, each entry gets three sets (12 total tires);
* Wet-condition (rain) tires with grooved tread pattern: 436, 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 new for this year. The alternate is also new for 2011, and was used at Edmonton. The rain tire was used in the first half of 2011 (at Brazil), and this race marks the last time we will use this rain tire specification.
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: "This is a bittersweet event for us, as it will be the IZOD IndyCar Series' last trip to Japan - the home of Firestone Racing's parent company, Bridgestone Corporation. We always love visiting the beautiful country, as well as the opportunity to see our colleagues. With that said, we're tremendously excited to make our debut on Twin Ring Motegi's road course, as it will give the Japanese fans their first chance to see our alternate tire program in action. We always appreciate the support and hospitality we receive in Japan, and I'm certain that the IZOD IndyCar Series will put on a great show for our final visit."
Firestone "Tire-ific" Move of the Race: Following each IZOD IndyCar Series race in 2011, Firestone Racing nominates three drivers who best utilized their Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event. Fans can go to www.indycar.com in the days after the race and vote for the nominee they believe made the most "Tire-ific" move of the race, with the top vote-getter earning the honor. The $10,000 prize from the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix on September 4 goes to Tony Kanaan for gaining 11 of the 24 total positions he progressed on the Lap 37 crash and coming from 27th to finish third. The check will be presented to Tony in pre-race ceremonies Sunday afternoon.