One of the technical highlights of the 2013 NASCAR season was Goodyear’s introduction of its multi-zone tread tire. After running the concept that combines two distinct rubber compounds on the same right-side tire at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway last year, this week the tiremaker adds Texas Motor Speedway to its roster of tracks at which this technology will be used.
Goodyear’s multi-zone tread tire combines one compound that is run on the outside 10 inches of the tread that is designed for traction with another compound on the inside two inches that is designed for durability. The inside compound is toughened up because that is the part of the tire that sees the most heat and takes the most abuse.
Like Atlanta, Texas has proven to be one of the toughest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. On the one hand, it is abrasive and wears tires quickly. On the other hand, it produces high speeds and high loads. That combination makes Texas the ideal track for the multi-zone tread technology.
“With this 2014 rules package, we expect speeds and loads to be up at Texas,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales. “Like at Atlanta last year, we didn’t want to sacrifice grip on a worn racing surface. We decided to bring our multi-zone tread to enhance the durability on the right-side, and we are coming back with the Texas left-side we’ve run there in the past to maintain grip.”
“This season, we’ve already broken track records on the two intermediate tracks we’ve raced so far – Las Vegas and California. There’s no reason to think Texas won’t be more of the same.”
In preparation for NASCAR’s early season races, Goodyear has worked throughout the off-season, testing and confirming its tire recommendations with the new rules package. Because of the scheduling demands of producing 150,000 NASCAR tires each season, at-track testing is not always an option. That make’s Goodyear’s lab testing, which replicates actual race conditions, more important.
“We conducted lab durability testing with this package to verify the performance of this tire set-up, including the validation of our air pressure recommendations,” said Stucker. “Our test process enables us to utilize track and car data to simulate actual race conditions. When time does not allow for a track test, this modeling, in essence, allows us to do the same thing.
“Once we generate this data, confirming our recommendation and at which air pressures the tires need to be run, we share that information with the teams. The teams have the ability to use this inflation data, along with the tire characterization data we supply each week, to make choices to optimize endurance and performance. Teams have asked for some flexibility with how they set up their cars. This information is just another tool in their toolbox.”
Goodyear will recommend minimum inflation pressures of 23 psi (front) and 21 psi (rear) on the left-side and 51 psi (front) and 47 psi (rear) on the right-side at Texas.
As always on fast, abrasive tracks, tire management will be important this weekend at Texas. With its new multi-zone tread right-side tire, Goodyear has enhanced its durability while maintaining a good amount of grip. That should prove to be a good combination for the racing.