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Firestone reveals commemorative tires for 100th Indy 500

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Earlier this week, Firestone teased some of its strategies for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

On Friday, Firestone released its special commemorative tire for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, and it’s going to pay tribute to all the drivers who’ve won the ‘500 on Firestones.

Here’s the full release and details:

Celebrating the “100 Days Out” milestone leading to the historic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500® Mile Race, Firestone today unveiled a special tire honoring the legendary drivers who contributed to the brand’s 66 combined victories at the world’s most renowned race. As the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500, Firestone has carried more drivers to victory circle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) than all other tire manufacturers combined.

“The Firestone brand solidified its place in motorsports history at the first running of the Indianapolis 500 with driver Ray Harroun. More than a century later, we are honored to celebrate all of the legendary drivers who have taken Firestone to victory circle at the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing”,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “From the beginning, Harvey Firestone believed in the power of motorsports and the Indianapolis 500 as a showcase for our company’s performance, innovation and technology. That legacy is at the core of everything we do and we are proud to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

The special sidewalls, which feature iconic Firestone-shod drivers like Ray Harroun, the winner of the first Indy 500; Louis Meyer, the first driver to drink milk in victory circle; Mario Andretti, the “driver of the century;” and many more, have been designed to engage and educate both avid and casual fans about the brand’s rich history at IMS. Also displayed on the sidewall is the 100th Running logo and customary Firestone brand markings, including red and white Firestone F-Shield logos. These F-Shields are unique to the Indianapolis 500 tire as the red and white logos are used to identify the right and left race tires, respectively.

“After analyzing data and feedback from some of the world’s greatest drivers during our tire test in August, we decided on a tire specification that is optimized for the most grueling 500 miles in racing,” said Dale Harrigle, chief engineer and manager of race tire development for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “The constant testing and evaluation of our race tires is in keeping with the Firestone brand’s century-long tradition of being the best today, still better tomorrow.”

Firestone used the tire test at IMS in August 2015 to evaluate possible tire specifications for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Using the performance data gleaned, Firestone engineers adjusted the construction and compound on this year’s Firestone Firehawk

Indianapolis 500 race tires to improve driver feel and, in turn, the race experience for fans.

The tires feature an updated right-front construction designed to improve driver confidence in the corners, a softer left-rear construction to add overall grip, and a more heat resistant left-side compound. Firestone will produce more than 5,000 tires featuring the commemorative Indy 500 sidewall, all of which will be used during practice, qualifying and the race.

For decades, racing has served as an ultimate proving ground for Firestone performance and technology. This heritage of performance and innovation has helped the Firestone brand’s on-track success translate to the open road. Firestone Racing’s engineers work side-by-side with the company’s tire engineers to ensure the technological advances developed for the racetrack help the driving public meet the demands of their daily travel. Firestone also ensures that the raw materials, proprietary technology and rigorous testing that go into creating its world-class racing tires are utilized to evaluate and produce the brand’s entire portfolio of passenger, truck, bus and agricultural tires.

Fans can first see the commemorative Firestone Indy 500 race tires in action beginning with practice on Monday, May 16 and during the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.