NASHVILLE, Tenn.  – After more than a year of development and testing, Firestone Racing will debut its new Firestone Firehawk rain tire during this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series road course event – the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The new tire features a softer compound and a stiffer construction to improve performance in wet conditions, while utilizing the same tread pattern and skid depth as the current rain tire.

"We are constantly evaluating the performance of our race tires and looking at ways to improve them," said Dale Harrigle, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports Chief Engineer and Manager of Race Tire Development. "A large part of this year-long process was the feedback we received from not only the drivers and teams, but the fans. The drivers’ feedback was essential as our team looked at compound and constructions changes, while the fan feedback was the driving force behind incorporating the new gray sidewall."

During the evaluation stage, Firestone Racing’s engineering team identified several tire compound formulas and constructions changes that were ultimately subjected to a series of virtual and small-scale tests – similar to the rigorous processes Bridgestone Americas uses to test all of its passenger tires – at the Americas Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. After virtual simulations were completed, indoor Rolling Tire Simulator (RTS) and full-scale outdoor wet traction tests were conducted at the Bridgestone Americas Texas Proving Ground facility in Ft. Stockton, Texas to select the final compound and construction.

The new Firestone Firehawk rain tire also features a gray sidewall to allow fans, drivers and teams to easily identify the rain tire compared to the black-sidewalled primary slick race tire.

Fans can watch the Firestone Firehawk race tires in action at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 2 at 1:30 p.m. on ET; CNBC, IMS Radio, by checking out and by following Firestone Racing on Twitter and Instagram.