Goodyear was out at the Chicagoland Speedway on August 26th with their professional driving team, sharing tips on improving fuel efficiency and how to save money when buying tires. I was ecstatic to be invited, with an opportunity to drive an autocross course (wet/dry), as well as an off-road course, something I had never done before. The goal was to test out their brand new performance tires in Audi A4’s, as well as the latest edition to the Wrangler family in Chevy Silverados. Who could resist?
Turns out there is not one Chicagoland Speedway, but three. I eventually made my way to the correct parking lot, between the dragstrip and the dirt field (demolition derby!). Turns out I was the only media representative, with the balance of enthusiasts coming from tire dealerships and auto mechanics. Being the only one came with perks — I got to wander all over the courses (with plenty of surpervision and a private Gator driver), along with being in the demo drive and first solo driver. Score!
An introductory session in the classroom did not last too long (hey, I wanted to drive), and then we were outside for the briefing on the autocross course, ready to test the new Goodyear tires.
First up were the the Eagle Sport All-Season tires under sparkling Audi A4s – I was salivating, as it’s been a while since I was in a sport-minded automobile (not that our mini van isn’t sporty…). With 4 kids, a 4-5 seater just isn’t in our wheelhouse, unfortunately.
“The Eagle Sport All-Season is designed for responsiveness, all-season traction, and outstanding wet and dry handling with performance drivers in mind. An asymmetric tread pattern, which includes angled tread block edges, helps provide responsive handling and grip while reducing road noise and promoting even wear. Another key feature of the new tire is its ability to maintain a large tread surface area – its footprint on the road surface – even at light loads. This helps provide consistent performance across a wide range of vehicles.”
What a blast! We each got several passes, also driving Audi A4s clad in a competitor’s tire. Both tires worked well, with a definite edge to the Goodyear. These tires reminded me of the Fuldas I used to put on my Volvo — complete confidence that they would stick. It’s been many years since my evasive driving course, but a lot of the techniques came back and I could really push it. Proud to say that I hit no cones (didn’t have to donate to the beer fund) and no loss of control. There were some spectacular spin-outs by others, however, along with many cones dragged along.
Goodyear Chicagoland Speedway Ride and Drive Autocross Video
Once we were all done, we wandered over to the dirt track, where a pavement and off-road course had been set up for the Chevy Silverados. Since I’ve never seriously driven off road (gravel roads and so on have been the limit), I was excited to play in the dirt.
The Silverados felt massive and tall after the A4s, and it made me a bit nervous on the pavement. Underneath were Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, which had been designed with this dual role, so I hoped for the best.
“The all-new Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar offers versatility for highway or off-road driving. The tire features a layer of DuPont Kevlar for rugged toughness over pavement, gravel and dirt, plus superior traction through rain and snow.
The new tire also contains Goodyear’s exclusive Durawall Technology, which offers toughness and helps to resist cuts in the sidewall area.
They are spot on with these tires, I felt comfortable both in the dirt and on the pavement. While the competitor’s tires lost grip easily in the dirt (kind of fun once you got used to it), the Goodyear tire stuck easily to the pavement and handled the dirt with aplomb. I will definitely look into these tires when my XTerra needs new ones.
Goodyear Chicagoland Speedway Ride and Drive Off-Road Video
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 69,000 people and manufactures its products in 53 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com.
I had a great morning, meeting some incredibly nice (and informative) people, driving cars fast and in the dirt, and wishing all tires came with a test drive.
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