KUMHO debuts red smoke tire for drifting competition
FONTANA, CA…In the last few years, KUMHO Tire has achieved a number of firsts: the first company to make a 26-inch light truck tire; the first company to produce a 28-inch light truck tire; a class win in the company’s first race in the American Le Mans Series. And now, KUMHO has another first: a tire that produces red smoke. This special version of KUMHO’s ECSTA MX ultra high performance street tire--dubbed the ECSTA MX-C--will make its public debut with Enjuku Racing at the Formula Drift event at Road Atlanta on May 6 and 7.
Enjuku tested the MX-C for the first time the week of April 18, and it literally left the team’s members speechless. “When we saw the red smoke boiling off the rear tires, we just stood there and stared in awe,” said Enjuku lead driver and team captain Matt Vassallo. “I think people will be blown away when they see this.”
The ECSTA MX-C was developed at the KUMHO Technical Center in Akron, OH. “At a product meeting here late last summer, several people were talking about the sport of drifting,” said Guy Edington, manager of the Technical Center. “While watching a drifting video, someone opined that it would be cool if the tire smoke coming off the cars was colored.”
From there the idea blossomed, and Jim Palombo, KUMHO’s senior product chemist, and Gary Bradnick, lead lab technologist, set about looking for a way to make colored smoke. They developed the right mix of chemicals and now have a patent pending for their colorful compound (they’ve also developed a compound that produces blue tire smoke). Following successful testing, KUMHO produced a limited number of the tires.
“We don’t intend to sell the ECSTA MX-C to the general public,” said KUMHO brand director Rick Brennan. “We built them to demonstrate our forward thinking, technical capabilities and ability to respond quickly to the market. Like our race-winning ALMS tire, the MX-C was developed in a very short time—about six months. And like our 26-inch and 28-inch light truck tires, the MX-C gets attention by charting new territory that no other tire company even thought about entering.”
Enjuku’s Vassallo agrees. “With the car show market and drifting scene ever-expanding in the U.S., the constant effort to make your vehicle stand out in the crowd is the ultimate goal,” he said. “KUMHO has upped the ante with the ECSTA MX-C.”
Established in 1960, KUMHO TIRE CO., INC., of Seoul, South Korea, had 2004 sales of $1.6 billion. KUMHO manufactures and distributes a complete line of tires for passenger cars, light trucks and heavy duty trucks. KUMHO has manufacturing facilities in Korea and China and operates technical centers in Birmingham, England, and Akron, Ohio. For more information, visit the KUMHO TIRE USA Web site at www.Kumhotireusa.com