A recent tire test for the upcoming American Speed Association Transcontinental Series Free State 500 at the Phakisa Freeway Circuit in Welkom, Free State, South Africa brought very positive results. The big result is that Hoosier will be manufacturing a special tire for this event and will go into production soon.
The test was recently done at one of the more abrasive surfaces with Ron Barfield, Jr., one of the invited competitors, and others, "We went to Rockingham, which is famous for having one of the most abrasive surfaces around and was one of the best places to do a tire test," Barfield said. "The track is famous for always being brutal on tires."
Barfield drove his ASA Transcontinental Series car and completed many tests with the same set of tires, "They are really consistent and you really didn't have to run a whole lot of laps to get them into the track they were really good from sticker to the time you took them off," Barfield exclaimed. "It had a lot of grip around the racetrack, the wear indicators looked really good. We ran some 20 lap runs and some long segments to see how many laps we could run on them and we really didn't see any wear problems. The biggest thing is that the drivers will be happy with the tires that Hoosier is building for us, it's a tire that everyone will be familiar with."
"He did an awesome job, he gave a lot of good feedback from the test. He said they felt great, they got into the racetrack real well," Irish Saunders, Manager of Contract Sales for Hoosier Tires said. "His only concern was that the tires were a little over staggered for what he needed, so with that being said we are going to special build a tire for the cars to go over to South Africa and run. They will have liners in the tires. Everything was real good to be honest with you."
Saunders did say that the tires will go into production around the first of December and will be shipped over and will fit them when they get over to South Africa.
Barfield said that they put around 65-70 laps on a set of tires, "They have put a lot of effort into getting us a good tire over there," Barfield said. "They put their heads together and I was tickled to death with what they had available for us at the track for the test."
Saunders is also very confident that the recent test has allowed Hoosier to manufacture the best tire for the event, "Based off of what we saw, we think so. We have a great bunch of engineers and compounders here at Hoosier and they have been here for a long time," Saunders said. "We have come up with a combination after Ron ran the tires, I think he had 60 some laps on the tires and you could still see the wear marks and very low temperatures. The main thing he said is that they had plenty of grip and he thinks it's really going to put on a really good race and that was our goal. We want to try to make a good and safe tire along with it being maintenance free and a very race friendly tire over there."
"There are a lot of variables that Hoosier has to look at over there and one thing is that the track itself doesn't have a lot of rubber and when we get there, the track is going to get better and better as we put rubber down on the racetrack," Barfield said. "I think we are going to have a great tire and I think there is going to be some great racing. The racers are going to love this tire and I think we are going to put on a great show for the fans. I can't express how tickled to death I am to be involved in trying to make this event happen and make it the best it can be."
Saunders feels that this will be a great event as well, "I am really excited about this. I think Dennis (Huth, ASA President) has a great group of people behind this program," Saunders exclaimed. "Dennis has always been very good on having good people on board like Mike "Lumpy" Lemke doing the tech and Barfield doing the testing. This sounds like a really good program."
"When I spoke to Ron after he did the tire test, I was very pleased with the results," Dennis Huth, ASA President said. "Irish and his group at Hoosier Racing Tires are committed to this program just like Ron and the other competitors are as well. Hoosier wants to see this be successful and I am grateful with their determination and assistance to provide us with the best tire for this event."
To learn more about Phakisa Freeway, visit www.phakisa.com.
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