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Kumho prepares to debut 'red smoke' drifting tire

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Kumho Tire U.S.A. Inc. has developed a tire that produces red smoke for drifting competitions.

The tire, a special version of the Kumho Ecsta MX ultra-high performance street tire, is dubbed the Ecsta MX-C. It 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. "When we saw the red smoke boiling off the rear tires, we just stood there and stared in awe," says 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, Ohio. "At a product meeting here late last summer, several people were talking about the sport of drifting," says Manager Guy Edington. "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," says Rick Brennan, Kumho brand director. "We built them to demonstrate our forward thinking, technical capabilities and ability to respond quickly to the market." The MX-C was developed in about six months.

"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," says Vassallo.

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