Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsNews & Views
Firestone Launches All-New Indy 500 Performance Tire in 48 Sizes
The new Firehawk Indy 500 has the grip to keep your Mustang out front
For many drivers tires are nothing more than these black round things that they clean and spray Armor All onto and every few years look for the cheapest replacements they can find to get their “toaster” back on the road to drive to work. Thankfully, Mustang enthusiasts don’t feel the same way and often have a lot more tire education than the typical driver next to them on the highway. Treadwear, temperature ratings, grip, and even the tread pattern are all important to Mustang owners. We push our cars hard, even in daily driving, so having a tire that does what we need it to do is more important than saving $20 on a tire of lesser known quality.
Firestone gets it too. They’ve been building tires for over 100 years, and Ford history buffs will know that Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford were great friends and business partners. Starting with the Model T, Ford used Firestone tires on many of its products, including the first generation Mustang, through the end of the 20th century. From the famous Firestone Wide Oval performance tires to passenger and light truck tires, Ford and Firestone have gone hand-in-hand for decades.
We recently had the chance to drive on Firestone’s latest Firehawk lineup, including the Indy 500 UHP summer tire, and its AS (all-season) tire. The AS is a great tire for wet and light snow conditions, while the Indy 500 is an all-out dry and wet performance tire that is well suited for track days or just spirited daily driving that all of us Mustang owners love to do in keeping the daily commute fun and satisfying!
“Racing is an integral part of the Firestone brand’s heritage and the ultimate proof point for our tire technology. We are excited to bring our legacy of trusted performance to the consumer tire segment with our new Firehawk high performance passenger tires,” said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “Both the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 and the Firestone Firehawk AS tires are great choices for drivers who work hard and play harder, and want to push their vehicles to the limits.”
We were given the opportunity to try the Firestone Firehawk AS first, and as luck would have it our visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just weeks before the Indy 500’s 100th running, was during a couple of days of rain showers. No need to wet the course down, Mother Nature was doing it for us no charge! Due to an IMS agreement, Firestone had to use GM vehicles for our product testing, but we won’t hold that against them. Competitive product evaluation is always a good thing, especially when it is 2016 Camaro SS (horsepower is horsepower!). The Firehawk AS handled extremely well on the tight autocross type course we sampled, allowing us sharper turn in and reduced understeer/plow at speed. Full-depth tread features help the Firehawk AS maintain its all season and wet performance throughout the life of the tire, which is backed by a 50,000 mile limited treadwear warranty. The Firehawk AS is currently available in 30 sizes to fit 15-inch to 20-inch wheel sizes with more sizes coming later this year.
Moving on to the Firehawk Indy 500 UHP summer tire, also tested on the same wet rainy day and infield course at IMS, we could instantly feel how the larger shoulder blocks found on the Indy 500 greatly improved our traction coming out of the corners. By utilizing an improved tread pattern having more rubber on the ground, and an improved wet rubber compound that uses Pulse Groove Technology for quick and efficient water evacuation and reduced hydroplaning, we felt confident going faster and deeper into corners with more throttle on exit. Braking is even enhanced with the new tire compound and tread design, with the Indy 500 delivering 20 percent shorter stopping distances on wet roads. The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tire is currently available in 48 sizes from 16-inch to 20-inch wheel sizes with additional sizes being added to the line later this year as well.