Yokohama Electric EV Sports Concept HER-02 – click above for hi-res image

This year marks the 88th running of the "Race to the Clouds" on Pike's Peak in Colorado. The magnum hill climb is one of the oldest automotive competitions in the country and one of the most diverse. Where else besides a local drag strip can you see cars, trucks, motorcycles and even semis race on the same course, back-to-back-to-back?

One of the groups we're most interested in watching is the electric vehicle class and one car in particular that we'll be rooting for is an electric buggy piloted by Japanese driver Ikuo Hanawa. Hanawa's Yokohama Electric EV Sports Concept HER-02 is powered with Sanyo batteries and sports Yokohama ENV-R2 tires made from natural rubber infused with orange oil. Hanawa raced the same vehicle last year when it wore off-road Geolandar tires and placed second in its class, just missing the world record by 13 seconds. The ENV-R2 tires cut petroleum use in the manufacturing process by 20 percent and are part of Yokohama's larger eco-friendly race tire line.

Mark Chung, Yokohama director, corporate strategy and planning, says Yokohama is on the cutting edge of green race tires:
Yokohama is the only tire company to have perfected this science. The ENV-R2, the world's only environmentally-friendly race tire, is campaigned on Porsche 911 GT3 cars in two sports cars series, including an endurance race. The Pikes Peak race is a different beast, but we feel the ENV-R2 will handle the hill quite well. And the fact that the orange oil tires are on an electric race vehicle is perfect for Yokohama. It certainly fits our longstanding commitment to innovation, technology and the environment.
Yokohama has coined a name for the proprietary orange oil/natural rubber compound that sounds like something from Speed Racer or perhaps the name of an experimental sushi roll: "Super Nano-Power Rubber." The compound made its way into street tires in July of 2009 in the form of Yokohama's dB Super E-specTM, but we would've recommended taking the name "Super Nano-Power Rubber" to a few focus groups before releasing it to the public.

If you want to see the EV Sports Concept and its eco-friendly tires go for the world record, and if you'll be in or around Colorado on June 27th, tickets for the Pike's Peak event are still available. Need another reason to go? It's the only time out of the entire year you're allowed to camp on Pike's Peak. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Source: Yokohama]


PRESS RELEASE

Yokohama Adds Orange Oil-Infused Race Tires to Pikes Peak Electric Buggy
EV buggy to tackle famous "Race to the Clouds" on ADVAN® ENV-R2™ slicks, the world's only eco-friendly race tire which cuts petroleum use by 20 percent

FULLERTON, CA (June 16, 2010) – Yokohama Tire Corporation's ADVAN® ENV-R2™ orange oil-infused race tires have another mountain to conquer...literally. Already the official spec tire in the IMSA Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama and the new ALMS GT3 Challenge (GTC) Class, the ENV-R2 is now poised to take on Pikes Peak in the new Electric Vehicle Class, June 27.

Once again, Yokohama tires will be on a Sanyo battery-powered electric buggy driving a new AC Propulsion engine in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Last year with Japanese driver Ikuo Hanawa behind the wheel, the Yokohama-sponsored EV buggy sported off-road Geolandar® tires and placed second in its class, just missing the EV world record by 13 seconds. Hanawa is back piloting the new EV Sports Concept HER-02 buggy, but this time it will have the ENV-R2 tires, which cut petroleum use in the manufacturing process by 20 percent by utilizing sustainable resources such as orange oil and natural rubber.

"Yokohama is the only tire company to have perfected this science," said Mark Chung, Yokohama director, corporate strategy and planning. "The ENV-R2, the world's only environmentally-friendly race tire, is campaigned on Porsche 911 GT3 cars in two sports cars series, including an endurance race."

Chung said "the Pikes Peak race is a different beast, but we feel the ENV-R2 will handle the hill quite well. And the fact that the orange oil tires are on an electric race vehicle is perfect for Yokohama. It certainly fits our longstanding commitment to innovation, technology and the environment."

The orange oil technology developed by Yokohama's motorsports division is part of the company's overall global environmental strategy. The proprietary technology, which combines orange oil with natural rubber to form a new compound called "Super Nano-Power Rubber," is used in race tires and Yokohama's dB Super E-specTM, an everyday passenger car tire that debuted in July 2009.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in the United States, Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation is a leader in technology and innovation. The company's complete product line includes the dB Super E-spec™ - the world's first tire to use orange oil to reduce petroleum – as well as tires for high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, and off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama's extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.

Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the "Tire Safety" section at www.yokohamatire.com
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