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Bridgestone Motorsport has produced a special Limited Edition F1 Potenza Snow Tyre at the request of the BMW Sauber F1 Team which will be conducting a demonstration run of their F1.06 car this Sunday (4 February) at the prestigious White Turf horse racing event in St.Moritz, Switzerland.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team is running the car at the request of team sponsor Credit Suisse, who are main sponsors and partners of the event which is this year celebrating 100 years of international horse racing in St.Moritz.
Due to the extreme conditions in which the BMW Sauber F1.06 will run, the special F1 snow tyres, produced by Bridgestone Motorsport's Technical Centre in Tokyo, feature 420 studs on each of the front tyres and 588 studs on each of the rear tyres. It took two Bridgestone technicians over 16 hours to manually insert all 2,016 studs into the double layer of tread compound on one set of tyres alone. Similarly, the horses racing on the frozen lake at St. Moritz will also have four studs and a rubber plate attached to each of their front and rear shoes.
Made from tungsten and embedded in aluminium casings, Bridgestone's tyre studs have been designed to specifically provide reliable grip on ice and hard-packed snow, exactly the conditions which can be expected at the event where night time temperatures have recently been dropping to approximately -15°Celsius.
A similar set of tyres was also recently produced for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team for their pre-season event on the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio in Italy.
By utilising the tread design of Bridgestone's Potenza F1 extreme weather tyres, the irregular placement of the studs in the tyre tread blocks is intended to maximise performance of each stud in the harsh conditions. In reverse to the policy of transferring technology from F1 tyre development to road car tyres, Bridgestone has transferred its knowledge of road car winter tyre tread compounds to the F1 snow tyres, using a soft, high-grip compound which will enable the tyres to work at a much lower working temperature range to that normally experienced by an F1 tyre on a race circuit.
The Bridgestone Corporation manufactures both studded and studless road tyres for use by the general consumer. The Bridgestone Noranza studded tyre provides exceptional grip on the ice, without sacrificing comfort, handling and quietness and with its irregular placed aluminium studs was instrumental in the philosophy behind the Limited Edition Bridgestone Potenza F1 snow tyre.
From Bridgestone's range of studless tyres, and more suited to Continental European winters, is the Blizzak LM20. After comparative tests by a leading European automotive magazine this tyre was "highly recommended" for its outstanding all-round capabilities and described as "a very well-balanced tyre: top- class on dry, very good on wet and ice, with good snow and wear performance". The Blizzak LM20 utilises a compound with high silica content, similar to that used by the Bridgestone Potenza F1 snow tyre.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team demonstration run is scheduled to take place with German F1 star Nick Heidfeld behind the wheel at 14:00hrs on Sunday 4 February.
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