Red Bull’s Max Verstappen opened up a 12-point gap at the top of the Formula 1 Drivers Championship after an intensely tactical two-stop race against Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas. Verstappen switched from the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tyre to the P Zero White hard tyre on lap 11, with a successful ‘undercut’ to gain the lead from his rival, who stopped three laps later. Mario Isola – head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli said that the two drivers had used “exactly the same” pre-race tyre allocation in different ways to produce a “thrilling finale between two drivers absolutely on top of their game.”
Yokohama Tire Corporation’s new 430,000 square-foot distribution centre in Wilmer, Texas is now officially open. The facility, which is located 15 miles southeast of Dallas, is LEED-certified, verifying that it’s sustainable building credentials. It will initially be used to distribute Yokohama’s passenger car/light truck tyres, followed by commercial truck/bus products in 2022, according to Rick Alonzo, Yokohama Tire’s vice president of supply chain and logistics.
Indian tyre manufacturer JK Tyre & Industries has inaugurated a new sales and marketing operation in the USA. The new arm of the company, Western Tires, Inc, is based in Houston, Texas. It will focus on sales, service and network expansion, the company stated. JK Tyre has been accelerating its global expansion efforts recently, in common with other Indian players, Apollo and MRF. With around 1.3 billion euros in turnover from tyres, JK Tyre is just outside the global top 20 manufacturers, according to the latest Tyrepress research.
On 5 June 2019 Continental opened the new Advanced Indoor Evaluation Center at its Ulvade, Texas testing facility. The company has invested around 9 million euros in the new facility, which tests the properties of passenger car tyres. The Advanced Indoor Evaluation Center is designed to test all passenger tyre models manufactured in Continental’s North and South American tyre plants.
Continental commissioned the first driverless tyre test vehicle for a wide range of road surface types at its Ulvade, Texas test track on 19 December 2018. The aim is to make the test results for Continental’s passenger and light truck tyres more conclusive and minimize the impact of the test procedure on the results. The new test vehicle is based on Continental’s automated Cruising Chauffeur, which was developed for freeways.
An anti part worn tyre bill that was passed in May has been vetoed by state governor Greg Abbot. Texas House Bill 2774 was based on the draft legislation advocated by the US Tire Manufacturers Association. It would have levied fines of $100 to $500 for each tyre deemed unsafe.
Across the Texas prairie, in a place where the staff occasionally encounter rattle snakes, Cooper’s 1000 acre Tire and Vehicle Test Center can be found. Originally constructed in 1999, the site has recently been upgraded through the addition of 4×4 and off-road testing facilities. Tyres & Accessories travelled to San Antonio to experience Cooper’s newly enlarged test centre first hand.
The most recent developments at Cooper’s Tire and Vehicle Test Center (TVTC) prove that the $13 million it originally spent on the facility was just the beginning. Now the company has 4×4 testing capabilities and it is likely that there will be further additions in due course. For now the centre’s primary work is product testing and competitor benchmarking.