Yokohama’s SEMA Booth Is Pretty Darn Awesome

Paid Article Presented by Yokohama

 

SEMA is, at its core, nothing more than an arms race. The annual 150,000-person trade show invites companies to exhibit their latest wares, with the top prize–unofficially, at least–being buckets of free ink from automotive outlets around the world. How do you win? Easy: Have great products and build a great booth to display them.

Yokohama’s done that this year with an amazing collection of vehicles that seem to be aimed straight at GRM. The company’s own Duane Sampson walked us through the display, explaining the story behind its construction.

Remember the Tire Wars

As Duane tells it, the story of this booth starts back in the late ’70s, when a bunch of Yokohama executives wanted to sell more tires. The best way to do it? Racing–at least that’s what they believed–so they went to work.

It paid off in 1977, when Yokohama developed the Y-801 and Y-802 race tires, then pitched them to teams in Japan. The response? “What races have you won? Causing a chicken or egg situation” Duane recalls. Convincing established teams to switch to completely unproven tires proved futile, so Yokohama did the next best thing and started its own race team. And it worked, leading Yokohama to launch the first ADVAN tire, the ADVAN HF, in 1978.

The new ADVAN group would focus only on going fast, with separate engineers, budgets, and assembly lines from those used for normal tires. In short: Yokohama had started its own ///M division, with the goal of dominating racing–and then selling tires to all of the spectators, too.
And it worked, so Yokohama brought the ADVAN name to the U.S. Or, as Duane tells it: “We started the tire wars with the ADVAN A001R!” It was the industry’s first DOT-R tire and started the category that now dominates amateur racing. That same ADVAN team developed numerous other tires, including the “holy grail,” the A008. “It had the right sizes, the right price, the best performance, and great wear,” says Duane.

It was a slam dunk for Yokohama, selling like mad and showing up at the top of podiums around the country. Why? Simple: “Yokohama focused on compound and construction that truly appealed to the enthusiast market,” Duane says, as they set about building a tire for a specific purpose: to dominate the competition.

ADVAN Today

Why all the ADVAN livery at SEMA if the tire wars were 20 years ago? Because ADVAN is back with four new offerings this year and for the SEMA crowd, we are highlighting two, the ADVAN Apex and the ADVAN A052. The Apex is a summer tire aimed at performance cars, while the A052 is a 200-treadwear tire designed to beat the rest of the field. And they’re good–really, really good.

As Duane tells it, the reason for this is clear: While there’s that same focus on compound and construction, the real thing that differentiates the ADVAN Apex is that Yokohama designed it for sale only in the North American market. That doesn’t sound important, but it is. A tire for sale in the global market is full of compromises, since it has to work on every road in every regulatory environment on every vehicle. By focusing the Apex on North America, the manufacturer made fewer compromises and a better tire for our environment.

Case in point? Duane gave this example: “Tires sold in the European Union have to meet very strict pass-by noise restrictions (the loudness of the tire when driving by). For many in the US enthusiasts’ market, that attribute ranks lower. We don’t have those restrictions in the U.S., so we don’t have to compromise other aspects of the Apex’s performance.”

The A052 is no slouch, either. The tire wars heated back up a few years ago as the world of DOT competition went from 180 to 200 UTQG, and Duane says that was an opportunity to build the A052 from a clean slate. As he puts it: “It’s only DOT tire completely designed in-house by our motorsports department. There was no other input in its design, other than to go fast. it’s also the only DOT tire that’s built in the same factory on the same assembly line as our race tires. That means the same hands make the A052 and our Porsche GT3 Cup and Super GT tire.”

Is it fast? We’ll say this: After its introduction shortly before this year’s SCCA Solo Nationals, competitors were overnighting sets of A052s to post the event’s fastest times.

The Booth

“In these shipping containers, we’ve got an opportunity to tell the story of Yokohama’s ADVAN history to people who weren’t there for the original tire wars,” says Duane.

And tell the story they do.

First up is the famous ADVAN-liveried BMW M3 E46 GTR, which ran from 2001-2006 and dominated ALMS.

Look further and you’ll see Yokohama’s next display car: Tom Milner’s ADVAN-liveried Panoz Esperante GTLMe. You’ll also see a Porsche 911 GTS Cup, which celebrates Yokohama’s 12-year relationship with the IMSA GT3 Cup. Last on our list of favorites: The Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport that won its class at Pikes Peak with Travis Pastrana behind the wheel, and a brand-new Toyota Supra sporting the iconic ADVAN livery.

These cars–combined with the rest of the hardware in Yokohama’s booth–make an impressive showing at SEMA, and prove that even if the manufacturer hasn’t officially won this decade’s tire war yet, they’ve definitely won this year’s booth war. Nicely done, Yokohama.

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Comments
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spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
11/6/19 3:26 p.m.

Tell them to run a batch of 13 inch performance tires.  

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
11/6/19 5:13 p.m.

They might all ready build them, just not import them to the US market.

https://www.y-yokohama.com/global/product/tire/pdf/tires/catalogue/Passenger_Car_Tire_Catalogue_Asia-Oseania01_02.pdf

 

 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
11/6/19 5:26 p.m.

Bring back the A008 and I’ll order a set tomorrow!!

bluej
bluej UberDork
11/6/19 6:34 p.m.

Paid article????

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
11/6/19 8:47 p.m.
bluej said:

Paid article????

That doesn't really bother me. At least they are upfront about it. Got to pay the bills

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/6/19 9:07 p.m.

In reply to bluej :

Yeah, we do paid articles like this occasionally. Don't worry—they are always clearly labeled and written by our own editorial team. 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
11/6/19 9:27 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In reply to bluej :

Yeah, we do paid articles like this occasionally. Don't worry—they are always clearly labeled and written by our own editorial team. 

Well, hopefully they read it...and bring back the A008. 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
11/6/19 9:32 p.m.

My buddy has to work his company's booth.  Wax guy.  
 

I'm jealous.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
11/6/19 9:43 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

You know, they could have at least paid for a whole detailing of that car..  I mean, it's almost like they intentionally missed cleaning half of it! 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
11/7/19 6:43 a.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

My buddy has to work his company's booth.  Wax guy.  
 

I'm jealous.

Bikini?

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
11/7/19 11:47 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In reply to bluej :

Yeah, we do paid articles like this occasionally. Don't worry—they are always clearly labeled and written by our own editorial team. 

Not bothered at all either.  Those are sweet cars in an awesome display from a vendor I'd recommend.

bluej
bluej UberDork
11/7/19 3:20 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In reply to bluej :

Yeah, we do paid articles like this occasionally. Don't worry—they are always clearly labeled and written by our own editorial team. 

My worry wasn't about who actually wrote it, though of course that does matter, but purely that once you're accepting money from an outside source to put out content under the grm banner, it becomes a chink in the credibility of everything else grm puts out. Obviously that's only my personal opinion, and being open about it certainly helps. 

Let me ask a few questions: Would you have covered the same material in a similar manner anyway? Not necessarily a full article, but at least a paragraph as part of the rest of your SEMA coverage? Is this a digital only piece? 

Fyi, I have not clicked the link to read the full article, so I don't know how in depth grm goes, or if any of it is critical. Basically, I don't care how cool/good the content is, I'm not consuming journalistic content if it was paid for, and doing so probably influenced that coverage. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/7/19 3:50 p.m.

In reply to bluej :

Read the full article, then I'd be happy to answer any questions. This is digital only; we do not do this in print and we do not do this anywhere readers are paying for the words they're reading. We would have covered this in a smaller form anyway; this topic was my idea, actually, and Yokohama was willing to provide the financial support and access to their people to make it happen. 
 

And again, we're pretty upfront that this is paid. If anything, I think this improves our credibility. Some of our peers have gone to a more or less 90% paid article format, but don't tell their readers and instead sell ink via cleverly-structured ad deals instead of honest discussions about the content that could be created together. Here, you always know what's journalism, and what's paid (it's the most prominent text in the article).

Crash Enburn
Crash Enburn New Reader
11/8/19 11:40 a.m.

Personally, I'm really diggin' the 'Hot Wheels case' vibe that the shipping container setup provides. 

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