Goodyear Set to Roll Out New Kansas Tire
September 28, 2013 | 9:09 A.M. EST
One key part of the tire design process is a track imaging system that Goodyear uses to get the precise characteristics of track surfaces.
Goodyear has employed multi-zone tread technology on passenger car tires for nearly a decade. In its NASCAR application, the multi-zone tire features two distinct tread compounds on the same tire – one for traction and one for endurance.
“We were extremely happy with the maiden voyage of the multi-zone tread tire we brought to Atlanta -- the tire performance was excellent,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tires. “We are excited to utilize the same multi-zone tread technology on a different application. Atlanta is a highly abrasive surface that wears tires quickly, but Kansas is recently paved and doesn’t wear tires at all.
“For Atlanta, we knew the Gen-6 car would be faster, thus putting more stress on the right-side tires. But, because the track surface is well worn and lacks grip, just going to a harder compound wouldn’t be a good solution. As a result, the multi-zone technology enabled us to maintain the tractive compound on the outside portion of the tread and toughen up the inside three inches to protect the part of the right-side tire that takes the most abuse and sees the most heat.
“At Kansas, this will be the third race after the repave and we've recognized that the track seems to have lost some grip, but has not yet begun to wear tires. To address that, we increased the grip on the left side of the car with a more tractive compound. With additional grip on the left, the cars will be much faster, again putting more stress on the right-side tire. So, we've utilized multi-zone tread technology to have the same compound that we’ve run there since the repave on the outside of the right-side tire to keep that level of traction, and paired it with a tougher, more heat resistant compound on the inboard three inches for endurance.”
Comparing the two tracks, they are on opposite ends of the wear spectrum. For Goodyear, each presents its own unique challenges. To design a tire for Kansas, like all repaved tracks, it is a delicate balance. If you design a tire with a compound that is soft enough to wear, it will provide too much grip, which will lead to higher speeds, higher heat and diminished endurance. If you simply use a compound that is hard enough to withstand heat, it might not provide an adequate level of grip.
One key part of the tire design process is a track imaging system that Goodyear uses to get the precise characteristics of track surfaces. Goodyear employs an optical device that collects surface data in three dimensions using Dynamic Light Processing technology and a powerful still image camera to capture surface characteristics on a micro scale (one-thirtieth the width of a human hair). Software gathers the raw data, analyzes it and produces a scaled image of the track surface using color graphics. (The track surface images of both the Atlanta and Kansas track surfaces can be found on the attached graphic page.)
This combination of the new Kansas left-side tire (D-4604) and the new multi-zone tread right-side tire (D-4606) came out of a test at Kansas Speedway on July 16-17. Goodyear engineers also decided to run that test at night, to avoid the midday heat and better match the track temperatures we would expect to have in October.
Drivers and teams participating in that session were Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford, Kurt Busch in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, Kyle Busch in the No 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and Ryan Newman in the No. 39 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet.
Next weekend at Kansas, only the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will be on the new tire set-up. NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will be on the same set-up they ran at the track in April.