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Off and Running: GT3 Drivers Ecstatic with Yokohama’s 2nd Generation Eco Race Tire at Sebring

March 18, 2010

FULLERTON, CA (March 18, 2010) – Months and months of testing paid off for Yokohama Tire Corporation as its second generation orange oil-infused eco race tires, the ADVAN® ENV-R2™, set track records in 2010’s first Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama series race at Sebring International Raceway late Wednesday afternoon.

Ross Smith drove his Maxwell Paper Racing Porsche 911 GT3 race car to victory in the Platinum division (GT3P), besting the field by 0.198 seconds. Smith also set a track record for the GT3 class with a blistering 2:08.097 lap. AASCO Motorsports teammates Javier Quiros and Jorge Trejos finished second and third, respectively.

The GT3 class fielded 37 cars vying for championships in two divisions: Platinum (for 2010 GT3 Porsches only) and Gold (2005½ – 2009 GT3 Porsches).

In the Gold class (GT3G), Carlos Eduardo, NGT Motorsports, also set a track record in victory. Eduardo’s winning margin was 1.092 seconds and his 2:10.420 lap time was the record-breaker for GT3G. Maxwell Paper Racing’s Kendall Smith (Ross’s brother) was second, while Henrique Cisneros, NGT Motorsports, was third.

The drivers praised the ENV-R2 tires, which replaced the ADVAN® ENV-R1™ orange oil tire that debuted last year at Sebring. The ENV-R1 shattered the eco-racing barrier by becoming the first true environmentally-friendly tire used in a racing series. Now the ENV-R2s are in the spotlight.

“The tires were great right out of the box,” said Ross Smith. “They ran great in cooler conditions. I tip my hat to Yokohama on these tires.”

“From beginning to end, they were great tires,” said Quiros. “You could go hard, back off a little bit and the tires came right back.”

Added Trejos: “The tires were very nice. The lap times at the end were the same as the beginning. Thank you Yokohama.”

According to Mark Chung, Yokohama director, corporate strategy and planning, “the ENV-R2 tires performed as expected, based on all our extensive test data. The drivers all said they got great results and the consistency and durability were better than the ENV-R1s. This is a great way to start the season.”

Chung said the orange oil technology in the ENV-R1 reduced petroleum inputs by 15 percent while performing at the same level as previous compounds. The new ENV-R2 cut the petroleum use by 20 percent.

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.