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Kumho develops 20-series UHP tire

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Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. has successfully tested what it claims is the first 20-series ultra-high performance tire -- and has decided to bring the tire to market.

Kumho first showed the prototype tire at the 2006 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show. The tire will be a special version of the company's Ecsta SPT UHP tire.

Kumho expects the tire to be available by next January in size 375/20R21; it will be paired with a 275/30R19 version of the same tire to fit on the Dodge Viper, the Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 and hot rods.

"Kumho is committed to remaining in the forefront of new ideas," says Rick Brennan, Kumho's director of brand management. "We introduced the first colored smoke tires, the first aroma tire and now the first 20-series mass production tire."

Brennan says the 20-series SPT was developed by engineers at Kumho Tire Co.'s technical headquarters in Korea, led by manager D.J. Park.

"This 20-series SPT will provide the emotional look that drivers want as well as the performance they demand."

Extremely short sidewall heights not only are popular but also can provide significant increases in handling performance, according to Brennan. But they also present challenges. As the aspect ratio is reduced, the overall performance potential is greatly increased.

However, it is significantly more difficult to find the optimum balance point of lateral stiffness, which helps handling, and vertical compliance, which is necessary for maximum straight line grip in high horsepower cars.

"Our engineers have found ways to get around some of these limitations and have developed the first 20-series tire that will actually be useable on the street," he says. "We've pulled out all the stops to create a product that enthusiasts want but no one else is even trying to make."

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