The Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ is Firestone's Ultra High Performance Summer run-flat tire developed exclusively for the drivers of Chevrolet C5 Corvettes. The Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT is designed to provide temporary mobility in the event of complete air loss due to a puncture, along with responsive handling and traction in dry and wet conditions. The Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT is not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, through snow or on ice.
The Firestone technologies used for the Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT with UNI-T AQ include EP (Extended Performance), RFT (Run-Flat Technology) and UNI-T AQ (Ultimate Tire Technology, Advanced Quality). While UNI-T incorporates innovative beads, unique carcass shapes and tread designs tuned for performance and comfort, the AQ technology that enhances worn tire wet traction is actually inside the tread. A unique Dual-Layer Tread that has two rubber compounds (one layered on top of the other) is molded into a racing rain tire-inspired, V-shaped, directional tread design. As the top layer wears to about half tread depth, it begins to expose an underlayer that offers even more wet grip. This helps reduce the natural tendency for a tire's wet traction to decline as the tread wears away. The Firehawk SZ50 EP RFT keeps wet traction up, even as its tread wears down. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced with spirally wrapped nylon ply to provide strength, stability and high-speed capability, as well as run-flat sidewall reinforcements that allow temporary mobility (up to 50 miles at 55 mph) in the event of air loss or a flat tire.
Note: While other tires feature dual layer treads, they have a cap (top) compound that provides wear and traction and a base (bottom) compound that is exposed only after the tire wears down (usually with less than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining). The base compound's traditional function is to improve tire durability by cushioning, supporting and isolating the cap compound from impacts and heat. Both of the Firehawk SZ50 EP Dual-Layer Tread compounds are an Extended Performance Compound (EPC). When a tire is in motion, internal friction generates heat that hardens rubber and causes it to lose flexibility. Introducing the EPC chemical agent to the Firehawk SZ50 EP tread compounds reduces the hardening and loss of flexibility. This further helps minimize the decline in wet performance as the tire wears.
This Run-Flat (RFT) version of the Firehawk SZ50 was specifically designed for the C5/C6 Corvette.