Firestone St. Pete GP preview 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 tire 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 and alternate tire specifications are new for 2012. Both feature updated tread compounds applied to the same Firestone street-course tire construction as used in 2011. The Firestone rain tire for this weekend is the same rain spec used in the last half of 2011.
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 each car is limited to one set of tires (team choice of primary or alternate) for each qualifying segment.
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "The wait is finally over and we will get to see the new chassis and engines in competition for the first time. Just like everyone else involved, we've been anticipating this weekend for some time. Of course, Firestone Racing has been just as busy as the teams and other manufacturers as we work hard to develop the Firehawk tire specifications we believe best to suit the new cars. Our engineers and chemists have come up with a single primary/alternate combination for the street courses that we expect to perform well on all eight temporary circuits in 2012. St. Petersburg is one of our favorite venues on the schedule and it's terrific to kick off the season here. Firestone has enjoyed a great relationship with Green Savoree Promotions, which does such a great job putting on this event, and we have extended our agreement with the promoter to serve as Official Tire of the grand prix weekend again. Some notable Firestone history has taken place at this track and we look forward to more history being made this weekend."
Firestone Racing History of Note: St. Petersburg was the site of the first non-oval event in IZOD IndyCar Series history back in 2005. The first right-hand turn was made into the aptly named "Firestone Corner" at turn one of the St. Pete circuit. St. Petersburg is also where Firestone debuted its alternate tire program in the IndyCar Series, in 2009.
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