SIGNAL HILL, Calif.—Kenda Tire USA Inc. has agreed to become an official tire supplier to the Formula Drift Pro Championship for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, joining Federal, Giti Tire, Nexen and Nitto as tire brands so recognized by the race sanctioning body.
Kenda plans to supply its Vezda UHP Max, an ultra-high-performance tire with a 200 UTQG treadwear rating, for use at all eight rounds of the 2023 season.
Kenda's decision to ally with Formula DRIFT comes a few weeks after Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.'s Falken Tires subsidiary decided to drop its participation in Formula Drift after a 19-year run in that sport.
Kenda said it chose to join Formula Drift because it's an "ideal" environment to showcase the ability of new tires under extreme conditions.
"We're very happy to welcome a new tire partner to Formula Drift for our 20th anniversary season," Formula Drift President Ryan Sage said. "This will be an incredibly important year for us all, and adding an unknown factor such as a new tire supplier can only make the competition more thrilling, especially if Kenda-shod drivers are challenging for podium places."
Brandon Stotsenburg, vice president of automotive for Kenda Tire USA, said, "We want to demonstrate how Kenda's off-the-shelf Vezda UHP MAX tires can perform in the world's most competitive drift series.