Photo: Tony DiZinno

Firestone realigns its race development team

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This is cool news for both Dan Peterman and Cara Adams, the latter of whom you may know is in the process of training for an Ironman competition with friend Katherine Legge, as it relates to her day job on Firestone’s race tire program.

Peterman is Firestone’s new Manager of Race Tire Development/Production and Building Services.

Adams, currently Senior Project Engineer, Race Tire Development, has been promoted to Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and Manager, Race Tire Development and will fill the shoes of 20-plus year Firestone veteran Dale Harrigle, who has accepted a management position within Bridgestone’s Consumer Tire Trade Group.

Both will help as Firestone continues its dedication and service to IndyCar (contract runs through 2018 at the moment).

Here’s the full release from Bridgestone Americas released earlier today:

Bridgestone Americas today announced that the company is reorganizing the Race Tire Development (RTD) arm of its Firestone Racing program, adding manufacturing expertise while reaffirming the brand’s commitment to innovation and the Verizon IndyCar® Series. Changes to the team include the following:

  • Dan Peterman, currently Plant Engineer at Bridgestone’s Passenger Radial Tire (PSR) plant in Aiken, South Carolina, has been named Manager of Race Tire Development/Production and Building Services. He will relocate to Akron, Ohio.
  • Dale Harrigle, currently Chief Engineer and Manager of Race Tire Development, has accepted a management position within Bridgestone’s Consumer Tire Trade Group, effective at the conclusion of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
  • Cara Adams, currently Senior Project Engineer, Race Tire Development, has been named Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and Manager, Race Tire Development.

“Dale is an innovator in the world of race tire design and he has been instrumental in the success of Firestone Racing for more than two decades. The program would not be where it is today without his expertise, leadership and sacrifice,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “Dan and Cara have demonstrated the knowledge, experience and leadership necessary to ensure a seamless transition and to continue our tradition of excellence.”

Effective immediately, Peterman will assume the newly formed role of Manager of Race Tire Development/Production and Building Services, where he will oversee all aspects of race tire development and manufacturing. He has more than 25 years of manufacturing experience at a number of Bridgestone tire manufacturing facilities, most recently serving as Plant Engineer at the Aiken PSR plant. He is a graduate of the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

At the conclusion of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Adams will take over the role of Chief Engineer and Manager of Race Tire Development, replacing Harrigle.

“I’m honored to lead our engineering team in the future development of tires for Indy car racing and into the next chapter of Firestone Racing’s storied history,” Adams said. “Perhaps one of Dale’s biggest contributions to our sport is the expert team of engineers and chemists developed during his tenure. Dan, our entire team of engineers, chemists and technicians and I look forward to applying those teachings as we continue to provide world-class tires to our racing family.”

Adams began her career with Bridgestone in 2003 as an engineer in the Tire/Vehicle Dynamics department. She joined the Race Tire Development team in 2007, where she developed road and street course tires, and currently oversees the brand’s super- speedway tire development, including those used in the Indianapolis 500®. She also manages the race team’s Force and Moment testing program, working with teams and manufacturers to develop tire models used in race simulations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Akron.

Harrigle, who joined Race Tire Development when the Firestone brand returned to open-wheel racing in 1994, brings 22 years of race tire development expertise to his new position, where he will lead a team responsible for developing light truck, SUV and winter tires for the consumer tire replacement market. In this role, Harrigle will continue to exemplify the brand’s tradition of transferring technology between its race tires and passenger tires.

“I am extremely proud of my accomplishments as Chief Engineer and Manager of Race Tire Development, and throughout my entire career with Firestone Racing,” Harrigle said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented, dedicated and inspiring people in the world of motorsport, and I am honored to have been chosen to lead the great team at Firestone Race Tire Development for the past four years. I am excited for a new challenge and to use my expertise in leading a team in the Consumer Tire Trade Group. I wish Firestone Racing and INDYCAR continued success in their tremendous partnership, and I congratulate Dan and Cara on their new roles.”

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.