Woody McMillin

Susan Sizemore

New Run Flat Firestone Firehawk For C5 ‘Vettes
Offers Outstanding Wet Performance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 9, 2000) – At racing events, auto shows and retail outlets, Bridgestone/Firestone executives and sales staff have been hearing the same question: When are you going to offer a run flat tire for the new Chevrolet C5 Corvette?

The answer is now. The Firestone Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ™ is designed especially for the C5. It features run flat technology and UNI-T AQ technology, a combination of elements providing more consistent performance throughout a tire’s life. The new tire is an improved version of the original Firestone Firehawk SZ50 introduced in 1996. It quickly became a favorite for owners of earlier version Corvettes and other performance cars due in large part to its outstanding performance in wet weather.

"Many Corvette owners who had driven the original Firestone Firehawk SZ50 kept asking us to produce a run flat version for the new C5," said Shu Ishibashi, Bridgestone/Firestone Vice-President of Consumer Tire Marketing. "They appreciated its handling characteristics, reduced noise and wet performance. Responding to their requests, we improved that tire with the latest UNI-T AQ technology and added run flat capability. ‘Vette owners who liked the original Firestone SZ50 are going to find the new Firestone Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ an even better tire."

UNI-T AQ™ (Advanced Quality) includes the core UNI-T technologies combined with EPO™ (Extended Performance Optimization). EPO elements include an innovative Dual-Layer Tread and an Extended Performance Compound (EPC™). As the outer tread wears away, a layer of high-grip rubber underneath is exposed, helping offset the effects of wear on wet-surface braking and handling. Both layers are made of an Extended Performance Compound, which is resistant to the traditional hardening that normally occurs as a tire ages.

The extended performance capabilities of the Firestone Firehawk SZ50 EP with UNI-T AQ are complimented by other desirable characteristics made possible by

UNI-T® core technologies. Those characteristics include longer wear, reduced noise, strong grip in both wet and dry conditions, and other qualities difficult to find in a single tire.

UNI-TÒ is an acronym for "Ultimate Network of Intelligent Tire Technology" found only in Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and select associate brand tires. One of its core technologies is a Computer Optimized Component System, CO· CSÒ , which uses a super computer to help determine an ideal combination of tread design, casing shape, materials and construction for a particular application.

Tires with UNI-TÒ have a special O-BeadÒ that eliminates overlapped joints in the bead assembly, affecting the way a tire interacts with the rim, and provides a rounder assembly for improved driving and handling stability.

The use of L.L. CarbonÒ , or Long Link Carbon, an advanced form of carbon black that absorbs road stress over a larger area, produces a stronger tire, better able to resist cracking, chipping, tearing and excessive wear.

Bridgestone/Firestone was a pioneer in run flat technology, developing and bringing to market one of the earliest run flat tires. It successfully demonstrated one of the first run flat tires in America nearly a decade ago on the Calaway Corvette.

"Since then, various technologies have evolved, making run flat capability less expensive for consumers and more popular with some auto manufacturers," Ishibashi said. "We are proud to have contributed to the early research of run flat technology, and believe the new Firestone Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ sets a new standard of performance in this market.

"Our successful involvement with the top forms of open-wheel racing is most obvious with this tire," Ishibashi said. "The tread pattern is very similar to the Firestone Firehawk racing radial used on wet tracks in Championship Auto Racing Teams competition. In that series and others, consistency of tire performance has been a major

factor contributing to our success on the track. Our UNI-T AQ technology allows us to take this desirable quality of improved consistency to the street.

"We are pleased the Firestone brand, known as ‘America’s Tire Since 1900,’ can be used on all versions of the Corvette, considered by many as ‘America’s sports car.’ We think it’s a great relationship."

The Firestone Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ comes with the Firestone Gold Pledge limited warranty, which provides replacement at no charge (excluding applicable taxes) if the tire should become unusable for any reason within the manufacturer’s control for up to five years. It also features the Firestone 30-Day Test Drive, allowing a consumer to return the tire and receive a refund if he or she is not pleased with it for any reason within 30 days of purchase, and the RFT Pledge, which provides limited replacement or prorated adjustment if the tire becomes unusable due to road hazards within usable tread life of five years from purchase or six years from manufacture, whichever comes first.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is the largest subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. Bridgestone/Firestone develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton, associate and private brand tires. The company also produces Firestone air springs, roofing materials, synthetic rubber, and industrial fibers and textiles.

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