Firestone using data, 100th Indy 500, as key focus for 2016

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One of the good things about Firestone’s presence in the Verizon IndyCar Series is that they’re generally not a story.

Why is almost no press, good press, you ask? Because it means that the tires are nearly universally praised by the paddock, and they’re not a story line for being unsafe or having blowouts, as occasionally happens in other championships.

In a first-person piece for IndyCar.com, Dale Harrigle, Chief Engineer and Manager of Race Tire Development, Firestone Racing, laid out how Firestone preps for a new season. As he notes, it’s never really an “offseason” but what he calls the “preseason.”

Two key areas of focus for Firestone in 2016 are maximizing the tire specification for the 100th Indianapolis 500, and using their vast amounts of data to prepare specifications for the remaining 15 races.

“From a race tire perspective, we conducted a test to develop the 2016 Indy 500 tire back in August. After a thorough period of analyzing data, talking to teams and extracting as much information from that test as possible, we decided on a specification for Indianapolis,” Harrigle said, via IndyCar.com.

“Without giving too much away, we are excited to celebrate Firestone’s rich history at the Indy 500 and we’re going to display that excitement in a way that only Firestone, with our 100-year history at Indianapolis, can.”

About the data, Harrigle noted, “Our last focus area this preseason involves the analysis of a significant amount of tire data from last year’s races and tests. This data is used to assess not only the past performance of the tires, but to also identify specific focus areas for future development.”

We’ll see what Firestone comes up with when the Phoenix test occurs next week, and then leading into the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season-opener on March 13.