Falken all season tyre introduced amidst wet Nürburgring
Falken celebrated 30 years since its birth with what could be described as an eventful 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. The Falken Motorsports team held first position for a time following an overnight break in racing as a result of heavy rain. British driver Peter Dumbreck climbed from tenth to first during the first stint, using Falken’s wet weather tyres to excellent effect. However, two incidents, including one off that required a rescue vehicle, put paid to dreams of glory, with the team ending the 24 hours in a very creditable 20th.
Falken’s motorsport tyres, put to the test in such endurance arenas as this, represent the direct lineage of the company’s high performance PCR products, and the Sumitomo Rubber Industries daughter company is suitably proud of its racing-derived product line and brand image. Taking the German name for the high-speed bird of prey, the brand formed its European operation, Falken Tyre Europe, in Offenbach in 2009 with 10 employees, a figure that has risen to 62 in 2013.
The company has announced the building of a plant in Cankiri, Turkey, due to come on line in 2015. It is one of two Sumitomo factories due to start production in the next two-three years, including a Brazilian operation in Fazenda Rio Grande starting production later in 2013. The Turkish operation is earmarked for passenger car tyres only, and will supply the EMEA region, including Russia. Currently, Falken Europe imports tyres from Japan and Thailand for the European PCR market.
In terms of product news at the Nürburgring, Falken was launching its new Euroall Season AS200 tyre for compact, mid-range and SUV models; available in 27 dimensions between 13 and 18 inches, and speed rated T, H and V, the tyre moves into HP territory at the top of its range, with 17” XL fitments for the Audi A4, A5 and A6, BMW 3, 5 and 6 Series and the Mercedes SLK.
The tyre features an asymmetric tread with broad shoulders – improving dry handling – containing a wide lateral groove for enhanced winter traction. Its structure shows high-speed capability through its rigidity – it has an “endless spiral upper layer” as well as a high-tension casing ply for greater stability. Finally the tread’s high-silica compound is designed to improve wet handling, grip and braking performance.
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