The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is one of the company’s latest UHP tires. But does it perform according to expectations? This review has the answers.
The Firehawk Indy 500 performs like a premium UHP tire but comes at a much lower price point. It delivers outstanding dry traction and cornering grip. Its wet performance is equally impressive. It also delivers excellent handling and steering responsiveness, combined with top-notch high-speed stability.
In this Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, we will take an in-depth look at the tire’s design features, performance in different conditions, track performance, ride quality, warranties and guarantees, sizes and fitment, price range as well as pros and cons. And by the time you finish reading this review, you will have all the answers you are looking for, to decide whether it’s the right ultra-high performance tire for your performance vehicle.
We are committed to publishing objective and trustworthy reviews. And this is made possible thanks to our award-winning team, featuring experienced tire testers, auto experts, renowned journalists, and seasoned researchers. Our team spends countless hours, researching and testing the different products that we recommend, to ensure we only choose something worth your time and money.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Background
Considering that tires are the only point of contact between the vehicle and the ground, a new set can considerably improve your vehicle’s acceleration, top speed, handling, braking, and ride quality.
While your vehicle may be outfitted with the latest performance features, it will only leverage those features if it can transfer the vehicle’s power to the ground.
Therefore, if you own a sports car and you want it to perform at the highest level, you need to equip it with the right set of tires. And this is where ultra-high performance summer tires come in.
You may be probably asking yourself why not just purchase an ordinary set of all-season tires. After all, they can still get you from one point to the other right?
While a set of ordinary all-season tires can still work well, they will not deliver the level of performance that you expect from your sports car. Simply put, a set of ultra-high performance summer tires are just what your vehicle needs.
Ultra-high performance tires are specifically engineered to deliver top-notch performances in dry conditions. When the weather is warm, these summer tires will perform admirably, always urging you to push your vehicle to the next mile.
But as you may probably know, not all UHP tires are the same. Therefore, during your selection process, you want to be sure that you choose a tire that can complement your vehicle’s performance features, without sacrificing ride quality.
You also need to ensure that you choose a UHP tire, which doesn’t wear out prematurely. And the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 ticks all these boxes. It’s currently among the best UHP tires that you can find on the market today.
About the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
As mentioned above, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is an ultra-high performance tire, specifically engineered for warm conditions.
According to Firestone, this tire will deliver excellent grip and traction, combined with top-notch responsiveness, both in dry and slightly wet conditions. And the good news is, it’s considerably cheaper than most of the competitors in its class.
Therefore, with the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, you are getting a highly reliable and durable tire, without digging too deep into your pocket. For instance, you can get this tire for as low as $115, which is quite a steal in this category.
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is designed for sports cars, performance sedans, sporty coupes and other performance vehicles.
In simpler terms, this tire is specifically designed for spirited drivers, who hit the track frequently. It’s also ideal for a driver looking to achieve the highest cornering speed possible.
Apart from its high cornering speeds, this tire will also provide you with enhanced responsiveness, better braking performance, and enhanced grip.
However, it’s also worth mentioning that this tire is not ideal for everyday driving, due to its lower comfort levels. So, if you are looking for a daily driver, it would be advisable to explore other options.
Design Features and Technologies
As noted earlier, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is a premium UHP tire, designed for drivers who know something about performance. According to the manufacturer, the Firehawk Indy 500 is inspired by Firestone’s racing heritage.
Therefore, you can expect this tire to deliver extreme performance and maximum fun, whether you are racing around the track with your friends or you are driving on windy roads over the weekend. Some of its standout features include:
Advanced Silica Tread Compound
Firestone has utilized a high-silica tread compound, featuring generous amounts of Long Link Carbon. This tread formulation is designed to deliver enhanced traction, grip and handling.
The silica tread compound has been molded into a rugged asymmetric tread pattern, which helps the tire to deliver high-speed cornering grip and stability. According to Firestone, the utilization of this tread compound and design results in shorter stopping distances over wet surfaces, by approximately 20%.
Pulse Groove Technology
Firestone has also outfitted this tire with its proprietary Pulse Groove Technology. So, what exactly does Pulse Groove Technology help the tire to achieve?
Used on the tire’s circumferential groove, this technology helps to provide enhanced water evacuation from beneath the tire, thus minimizing hydroplaning resistance.
The Pulse Groove Technology on this tire works together with two standard circumferential grooves, resulting in outstanding wet weather traction as well as shorter stopping distances than the previous iteration.
With this thoughtful design, it’s clear that the company’s engineers spent a significant amount working on this area.
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 also features wider shoulders than the previous iteration. These shoulders help to enhance the tire’s high-speed cornering grip and stability.
Sturdy Internal Construction
Similar to other UHP tires in its category, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 comes with a robust internal structure, featuring high-tensile steel belts, reinforced with spirally-wound nylon.
This rugged internal construction gives the tire added strength, needed for high-speed cornering. It also helps to boost its durability.
While ultra-high performance tires have a reputation of wearing out prematurely, you will not experience such issues with this tire. It’s durable, sturdy and built to last as long as possible.
Unlike most of the other tires in its category, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 doesn’t come with tread wear indicators. Instead, the manufacturer recommends that you use the ever-reliable penny-test method.
For this method, you simply need to stick a penny in its tread grooves. To measure the remaining tread, you should check whether it’s touching Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down. If it is, then its tread depth is approximately 2/32-inch of tread remaining.
It’s important to mention that as the tire’s tread wears down, it will lose its traction in wet conditions, which is usually the case with most UHP tires. However, it may still be usable in dry conditions.
Having said that, if you are planning to use these tires in the streets, you should always make sure they have adequate tread depth.
If the remaining tread is less than 2/32 of an inch, you should consider replacing this tire. Replacing it will ensure your safety as well as that of the other road users.
Performance in Different Conditions
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is marketed as an ultra-high performance tire, which will deliver top-notch performances in dry conditions and slightly wet surfaces. However, promising and doing are two different things.
The question remains, does this tire achieve what the manufacturer promises? Or it’s just empty marketing talk?
We outfitted a set of this tire on a Mazda Miata and took it through its paces. And after testing it for several hours, we arrived at the following conclusions:
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is a premium ultra-high performance tire, and ultra-high performance tires are well known for their outstanding dry performance. So, does this tire’s dry performance match up to expectations?
Without a doubt, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is an outstanding and capable performer when it comes to dry conditions and surfaces. It’s adequately equipped to handle extreme driving in hot conditions.
However, we must say that we didn’t expect this tire to perform at these levels, considering that it comes at a lower price than most of its competitors.
Its outstanding responsiveness is one of its stand-out features. Whether you are driving on twisty roads or you are navigating tight corners at high speeds, this tire reacts and responds to your steering input as if you are driving a go-kart.
Its traction on dry surfaces is excellent, especially when you’ve warmed up the tires. Compared to some of the other UHP summer tires that I have previously sampled, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 performs at a higher level, despite being cheaper.
As for braking, you don’t have to worry about your vehicle skidding and losing control. The braking was solid and the distances remained reliably short.
Overall, this tire doesn’t disappoint in dry conditions. While some of the other UHP tires may perform better than the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, some of them come at double its price.
At its price point, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is one of the best out there. It offers a great blend of performance and value for the money. Traction is excellent, its cornering grip is outstanding and responsiveness is top-notch.
So, if you are in the market for an ultra-high performance tire that will not disappoint you on the track without costing too much, then you should check out the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500.
Having tested hundreds of tires over the years, I’ve noticed that ultra-high performance tires tend to falter whenever they encounter wet conditions.
While they may provide some traction, their cornering grip in wet conditions is usually unreliable and the responsiveness is nothing to write home about. So, is this also the case with the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500?
On the contrary, this tire is a solid performer in wet and slippery conditions. When giving it a test run, I didn’t experience any loss of traction, even when the conditions become extremely slippery.
It also handled corners with confidence in wet conditions. Its outstanding wet weather performance can be attributed to the Pulse Groove Technology on the center circumferential groove, which combines with the other two grooves to channel water away from its surface.
So, even when you are driving in heavy rain, this tire will resist hydroplaning well, thus preventing loss of traction. It also performs well in damp conditions.
Accelerating, braking, cornering and responsiveness are all great in wet conditions. Again, some of the premium UHP tires may deliver better performances in wet conditions than this tire. But at this price point, you will struggle to find a UHP tire that can outperform the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500.
Performance in Snowy Conditions
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is not engineered for use in snowy conditions or freezing temperatures.
The rubber used to make this tire will harden in freezing conditions, leading to a total loss of traction.
And when that happens, you will find it extremely hard to drive with them in snowy conditions.
Furthermore, driving with a set of this tire in near-freezing conditions may lead to significant damage. Also, it will void their warranty, since the manufacturer didn’t produce them to be used in such conditions.
So, if your area experiences harsh winters that go on for several months, you should replace this tire with a proper set of winter tires.
Off-road Driving Performance
Can the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 handle off-road conditions? The short answer is no. This tire is not engineered to be used in off-roading.
It lacks features such as aggressive and rugged tread patterns, reinforced sidewalls, open tread designs and larger lugs, which you will find in the majority of off-road tires.
Besides lacking the performance features necessary for off-roading, using this tire in such extreme environments may severely damage its tread.
Therefore, if you frequently drive off-the-beaten-path frequently or your work involves traversing country roads several times in a week, then this tire is not ideal for your driving needs.
Instead, you should simply arm your vehicle with an all-terrain tire or a mud-terrain tire, depending on the off-road terrains that you normally traverse.
During your track days, you will need a tire that can give you an edge over your competitors. The good news, this tire will get the job done perfectly. So, how does it perform on the track? Let’s take a closer look:
Controllability and Handling
As mentioned above, tires are the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road. And in this case, the racing track. So, the tires on your vehicle should have easy handling, responsiveness, and controllability.
The good news is, the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 will not let you down at the track when it comes to handling and controllability.
Its optimized tread pattern helps to deliver a precise and fast steering response. So, whether you are navigating a corner, accelerating, or bringing your vehicle to a stop, this tire’s response is one of the best.
The Long Link Carbon on the tire’s tread, combined with their asymmetric tread pattern work together to deliver top-notch cornering and maneuvering as well as flawless braking.
As you may probably know, high-speed cornering is a common feature on the track. Unfortunately, some tires tend to suffer a loss of shape or deform when subjected to high-speed cornering. Others tend to wear out prematurely after only a few drives.
Fortunately, you will not experience such challenges with the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500, thanks to its sturdy internal construction.
As earlier mentioned, its internal construction features two steel belts, reinforced with polyester nylon casing. Thanks to this sturdy internal construction, this tire will maintain its shape, even during high-speed cornering.
Also, the Long Link Carbon used to make this tire helps to absorb and spread road stresses uniformly, thus enabling the tire to resist deformation, chipping, cracking, excessive wear and tearing.
Ultra-high performance tires come with harder rubber compounds, compared to their all-season counterparts. And this is also the case with the Firehawk Indy 500.
It comes with a harder rubber compound, to resist heat and fraction. Consequently, its ride is not as refined as that of an all-season grand touring tire.
Simply put, the Firehawk Indy 500 may not be the best choice for daily commutes or long road trips. Therefore, it’s mainly ideal for leisurely or recreational driving as opposed to daily driving.
Warranties and Guarantees
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is covered by Firestone’s Gold Pledge Limited Warranty. This warranty features a workmanship and materials warranty, uniformity warranty and a customer satisfaction guarantee.
Workmanship and Materials Warranty
Under this warranty, Firestone pledges to replace your Firehawk Indy 500 tire, if it’s removed from service due to materials or workmanship defects.
Firestone will replace the tire either free of charge or on a pro-rated basis, depending on when it becomes unserviceable.
Free Tire Replacement
If your Firehawk Indy 500 is removed from service during the first three years from its purchase, Firestone will replace it free of charge, with a comparable new tire.
Firestone will also take care of mounting and balancing costs, while the buyer will be responsible for applicable taxes, disposal fees and the cost of valve stems.
In case proof of purchase is not currently available, the dealer will check the tire’s date of manufacture. Under this warranty, a tire will be eligible for a free replacement if it’s not more than four years from its manufacture date.
If your tire is removed from service due to workmanship or materials defects outside the free replacement window, Firestone will replace it on a pro-rated basis. Therefore, Firestone and the buyer will share the tire’s replacement costs.
An authorized Firestone tire dealer will determine your pro-rated amount by multiplying the percentage of the original usable tread worn with the tire’s current selling price.
For example, your set of Firehawk Indy 500 tires may become unserviceable after four years of use due to workmanship or materials defects, when the percentage of original usable tread worn off the tire is around 70%.
Assuming that dealer is currently selling the tire for $200, then your pro-rated amount will be $140.
You will be responsible for mounting, balancing, disposal fees, applicable taxes and other miscellaneous service charges.
Coverage under this warranty runs for five years from its purchase date or six years from the tire’s manufacture date, in case proof of purchase is not currently available.
As much as the tire industry maintains strict quality control measures, a tire may be out-of-round sometimes, causing ride quality issues. And this is where uniformity warranty comes in.
If your Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tire is removed from service for causing issues like excessive vibrations, too much noise or pulling, Firestone promises to replace it after 2/32-inch of the original usable tread is worn off, with a comparable new tire, free of charge.
However, it’s important to measure that this coverage is limited to a maximum of two tires per vehicle.
Also, ride quality issues caused by improper tire or vehicle maintenance, road hazards, vandalism, or accidents are not covered under this warranty.
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 doesn’t come with a mileage warranty. Ultra-high performance tires are usually pushed to their limits, which may shorten their tread life considerably.
And this explains why Firestone opted not to offer a mileage warranty for this tire. Having said that, the majority of the drivers who have used this tire have noted that it’s highly resilient.
You can push it to its limits for prolonged periods on the track, and it will hold up perfectly well. So, while it may not come with a treadwear warranty, you can rest assured that it may hit the same number of miles as most of the others in the class.
However, you should be extra cautious when driving with a set of these tires on the streets. They come with stiffer and smaller sidewalls, which may be severely damaged by larger potholes. So, make sure you drive with caution whenever you are using this tire on the streets.
Buy and Try Guarantee
The Firehawk Indy 500 is also eligible for Firestone’s buy and try guarantee. This guarantee covers the tire for approximately 90 days from the purchase date.
If you are not fully satisfied with this tire, you are free to return it to its original place of purchase. You will be required to produce the tires’ original proof of purchase for the dealer to process your request.
Upon returning the tire, the dealer will offer to give you a full refund for an exchange. However, you should note that this guarantee will only apply if you purchase a set of four or more tires.
Also, you need to return a set of four or more tires to get an exchange or refund. Furthermore, tires with more than 2/32-inch of tread wear, as well as those damaged by road hazards will not be accepted.
Also, tires damaged by misapplication, misuse or abuse will not be accepted, regardless of how many days you’ve used them or the remaining tread on the tire.
Firestone’s Gold Pledge is a limited warranty. Hence, as much as your tire may become unserviceable during the warranty period, Firestone may decide not to replace the tire.
For instance, if your Firehawk Indy 500 tire becomes unserviceable due to damage caused by road hazards like impact breaks, snags, stone drilling, punctures and bruises, Firestone will not replace it, regardless of when it’s removed from service.
Also, Firestone will not replace it if it’s removed from service due to damage occasioned by improper use, misapplication, weather cracking, improper repair, insufficient or improper maintenance, as well as degradation or contamination caused by chemicals or other substances.
Sizes and Fitment
Firestone produces the Firehawk Indy 500 in several sizes, ranging from 16 inches to 20 inches. Some of the vehicles that this tire is compatible with include:
- Mazda Miata, Mazda6, RX-8, Mazda5, and Mazda3
- Porsche Panamera, Cayman, 718 Cayman, Spyder, 718 Spyder, Boxster, Taycan, 911 and 718 Boxster
- Audi TT, A6, A8L, A5, A4 Quattro, A5 Quattro, A4 Allroad, A5 Sportback, A7 Quattro, A6 Allroad, Q3, RS3, Q5, Q3 Quattro, RS7, RS5, RS3, S5 Sportback, RS5 Sportback and A4
- McLaren P1, 675LT, Senna, 720S, 650S, 570S, 765LT, and 570GT
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque
- Toyota Matrix, Camry, Avalon, Corolla, Sienna, RAV4, Tacoma, Prius, Mirai, C-HR, GR Supra, and Toyota 86
- Cadillac XTS, ELR, STS, XT4, CT5, ATS, CT6, DTS, and CT4
- Lamborghini Gallardo, Aventador, and Huracan
- Jaguar XK8, XKR-S, XJ, XF, XJR, XK, XE, F-Type, E-Pace and XK3
- Ford Contour, Fusion, C-Max, Focus, Crown Victoria, Taurus, Escape, Flex, Mustang Mach-E, Fiesta, EcoSport and Mustang GT
- Aston Martin DBS, Rapide, DB9, One-77, Virage, V12 Vantage, Vanquish, and V8 Vantage
- Lexus GS300, ES250, GSF, CT200h, GS450h, GS Turbo, IS F, GS200t, IS Turbo, IS 250, LC500h, IS300, RC F, LS500h, NX300, LS600h, RC200t, and UX200
- Hyundai Veloster, Equus, Nexo, Accent, Genesis, Azera, Elantra GT, Santa Fe, Veloster, Elantra, Veloster N, Kona Electric, Ioniq, Tucson, Kona, and Sonata
- Lexus GS350, GS430, LS460L and IS430
- Scion tC and xB
- Infiniti EX35, M56, G37, EX37, Q40, G25, Q50, QX50, M37, and Q70L
- Mercedes-Benz SL55, E550, SLK320, CLK430, C300, C250, C400, B250e, C43 AMG, A220, AMG GT, AMG GTS, and SL500
- Subaru WRX STI, BRZ, Legacy, Crosstrek, Forester, WRX, Impreza and Outback
- Pontiac Grand Prix, Grand Am, Trans Am, GTO, G6 and G8
- Kia Niro, Cadenza, Forte5, K900, Forte Koup, Optima, Seltos, Rio, Sorento, Rio5, Soul, Niro EV, Stinger, Nero, Sportage and Soul EV
- Volkswagen Passat, Jetta, GTi and CC Sport
- Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Giulia and 4C
- Lincoln LS, MKZ, MKS, MKC, MKT, Continental and Corsair
- Dodge Challenger, Avenger, Dart and Charger
- Buick Regal, Cascade, Lucerne, Envision, LaCrosse, Regal Sportback, Verano, and Regal TourX
- Ferrari 458 Italia, 812 Superfast, 458 Spider, California, 599 GTO, California T, 599 GTB, Portofino, FF, SA Aperta, F12 Berlinetta, and 124 Spider
- Acura RSX, RL, TL, NSX, TLX, TSX, RDX and, ILX
- Chrysler 300 and 200
- Nissan LEAF, Quest, Cube, Juke, Altima, Maxima, Sentra, Rogue Sport, GTR, Versa, and 370Z
- Volvo C30, V60 Cross Country, C70, V90 Cross Country, S80, S40, V60, S60 Cross Country, XC90, XC40, V90, XC70 and V50
- Honda S2000, CRZ, HRV, Clarity, Accord, and Civic
- Chevrolet Camaro, Impala, Corvette, Malibu, Cobalt, Cruze, Colorado, Cruze Limited, Captiva Sport, Equinox, Sonic, Caprice, SS, Impala Limited, Malibu Limited, Volt and Monte Carlo
- Mini Cooper Paceman, Countryman and Clubman
- Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, CC, Arteon, Alltrac, GTI, Tiguan, Jetta, Passat, Golf Alltrack, Tiguan Limited, and Eos
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Price Range
The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is currently retailing at approximately $117 to $340. The actual cost will depend on your vehicle’s wheel size. Also, it will depend on where you opt to purchase the tire.
For instance, Discount Tire is currently selling this tire for around $115 to $320 while Priority Tire is selling it for approximately $120 to $340.
And if you decide to shop at Tire Rack, then you will spend approximately $120 to $280, depending on the size that you choose. You should note that these prices are just approximations.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Pros
- Outstanding dry traction and grip
- Superior wet traction
- Excellent handling and steering response
- Solid cornering grip
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 Cons
- No mileage warranty
Should You Buy the Firehawk Indy 500?
If you are in the market for a tire that can enhance your vehicle’s performance without spending a fortune, then the Firehawk Indy 500 will be a good choice. It competes favorably with the premium tires in its class when it comes to wet and dry traction, handling, braking, high-speed stability and cornering grip. Simply put, it’s a well-balanced ultra-high performance tire, which ticks almost all the right boxes. Perhaps one area where some people may find fault with this tire is the lack of a mileage warranty. But it’s not a deal-breaker in any way.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding