Woodburn Dragstrip is proud to publicly announce its selection as the sole test facility for the development of a new tire.
In the early days of the automobiles, vehicles drove through the towns using white rubber tires. However, that all changed in the early 1900’s when a chemical manufacturer Binney & Smyth developed a material called ‘Carbon Black 220’. This product resulted in a more resilient tire that is black in color. The new black tire quickly took over the market due to its better endurance and increased reliability. Since the mid 1900’s, there has not been much effort put forth in the tire industry developing a totally new product. However, that all started to change in July of 2005.
In 2005, Northwest Wholesale (NW), sponsor of the Perfect Light Club since 2007, was asked to work with a well-known worldwide tire manufacturer to develop an Eco-friendly tire. This partnership also included WOODBURN DRAGSTRIP as the test center due to its private location and limited staff. NW had developed white non-marking rubber years ago for many specialty applications from hospital carts to forklifts used in building construction. This new ECO tire would need to be longer lasting and more durable than the current products available and more economical to purchase. A development time line was set with a completion date of July of 2014 to have a working model in which to build from. In order to meet this time line it was decide to not develop a high mileage street tire due to the amount of testing it would require. So it was agreed upon to focus on the motorsports arena because of the severity of the usage. Due to the availability of various types of drag race cars, and the lower cost of operating them than oval or road racing the sport of Drag racing was selected.
The initial testing of white rubber tires during the 2006 season brought many problems. However, after years of research and additions to the natural rubber compound, a breakthrough came in late 2009 with a product that was working. With this new ‘Super Tire’, testing was ramped back up to full scale, and the results were looking good.
Testing moved from using Sportsman type cars to Pro bracket cars and then to S/Pro type that resulted in 518 successful consistent passes before needing to be replaced on the S/Pro car. This would simulate 3 years plus of normal usage. We wish we could say the same about the engine and transmission however as both required replacing or rebuilding during the 518 passes. By the end of the test, the tires showed no sign of aging. After more testing of the same nature, all partners are confident in marketing WHITE RUBBER racing slicks as only needing to be changed every 4-5 years, with no changes in care/set-up compared to black racing tires.
Another amazing statistic that was gathered from testing at Woodburn Dragstrip was the consistency of tire pressure. When testing a 31-14×15 tire running 10.30 ¼ mile times, the tire pressure of 9 pounds stayed exactly nut on throughout the entire testing resulting in no changes despite temperatures ranging from 49-94 degrees during the season long testing.
More benefits of the white rubber tire program is that the natural rubber does not leave ‘streaks’, or marks on the ground that it travels over. Benefits of not leaving marks include cleaner trailers, garages, and also no evidence of a burnout which results in a cleaner water box!
Economically speaking the white tires will cut a racers tire expense in half if not more and due to there being no carbon black used in the tire it can be recycled. When these tires do find the end of their life, they can be thrown into an autoclave (think of a giant melting pot), turned up to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit, and melted down to be used again to make a new tire!.
The new tire should be available sometime in the fall of 2015 for consumer purchasing but look for them in the near future on someone’s various cars at WOODBURN DRAGSTRIP only.
Current government-funded testing is underway regarding street tires using white rubber with the before mentioned partners and WOODBURN DRAGSTRIP. It is predicted that many vehicles will be switching over to strictly using natural white rubber tires sometime in the year 2020, thanks in many ways to the testing data recovered from passes made at Woodburn Dragstrip.
One of the most vital tests was performed just over a week ago after the private rental at Woodburn Dragstrip. After making test passes on Sunday, Darin Bay’s jet dragsters were used on Monday for the final test. Seen here is a picture from that test session, where both cars were tested putting the maximum amount of speed on the white tires to date. With a pass of 303.27mph from Richard Smith, driver of the Devastator dragster, the tires performed as perfect as expected and with that a successful day was concluded.
(Original article posted April 1st, 2014.)