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Citrus oil tires perform well at Sebring

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Citrus oil tires perform well at Sebring

When the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama kicked off last week in Sebring, Fla., each Porsche 911 race car was outfitted with Yokohama Advan ENV-R1 orange oil-infused race tires.

The proprietary technology combines orange oil with natural rubber to form a new compound called "Super Nano-Power Rubber." In the Advan ENV-R1, it reduces petroleum by approximately 10 % and increases recyclability while maintaining the high performance levels of previous race slick compounds.

(See "Yokohama Tire Corp. to introduce a series-wide environmentally friendly race tire," March 16, 2009.)

The technology was developed by Yokohama's motorsports division in the 1980s and recently accelerated as a part of the company's global environmental strategy. As a result, orange oil technology will be available to U.S. consumers -- with fitments for the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid and other models -- in the all-new dB Super E-spec passenger car tire this summer.

"It's apropos that we're launching an orange oil tire among the citrus groves of Florida," says Mark Chung, director, corporate strategy and planning. "The development of this ENV-R1 will benefit race fans, consumers and the environment."

"The ENV-R1s have performed very well since our team's first test session at Sebring in February," said Alex Job, owner of Alex Job Racing. "There's been a lot of speculation about how these tires would perform and, I have to say, I'm very pleased with their performance."

Following the first IMSA race at Sebring International Raceway on March 19, the winning drivers had plenty of praise for the tire. (There were two classes in : "Platinum" for 2008-2009 model year cars, and "Gold" for 2005-2007 model year cars.)

Bob Faieta (Pole Sitter and Overall Winner; Platinum Class Winner): "Yokohama provided us with just an incredible tire this weekend. It was consistent through the whole race and we were able to run out front.
"Yokohama brought out a great product. The (Advan ENV-R1s) felt really good. Right near the end of the race they got real fast. It's a real consistent, good race tire."

Melanie Snow (Gold Class winner): "I thought the Advan ENV-R1 worked really well. We were fairly quick in traffic and for us to be able to turn the times that we did was good.

"The tires held up well for me. My second to last lap was the fastest for me. They were consistent all the way through."

"Looking for a combination of superior grip, less use of petroleum products, and renewable ingredients, they have come up with a winner in the ENV-R1 and our tests prior to this weekend have proven that," says Paul Ritchie, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.

"As you can imagine, Porsche is very picky about original equipment tire suppliers for its sports cars and SUVs; and only a handful of the tire companies out there have qualified to be one of our OE suppliers. Yokohama is one of those companies, and we are proud to have them as racing suppliers as well."

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