Mickey Thompson is a giant among racetrack heroes. He holds more auto speed records than anyone on earth. Winning races in record times was the driving force behind Mickey Thompson’s innovations in tire design. If tires held Mickey back, he made the tires that got him first over the line in the fastest time.
His tires helped him become the fastest man on earth by traveling at 406.6 mph and go on to set 485 speed and endurance records in many forms of motorsport, more than any man on earth.
How did Mickey remain so determined to succeed against the odds? An IQ test revealed Mickey was near genius. His brilliant mind, steely determination and love of auto racing meant Mickey didn’t stop until he saw his revolutionary ideas come to fruition.
Mickey Thompson and friend Gene McMannis founded Mickey Thompson Tire and Wheels in 1963 with a visionary way to design, manufacture and test high performance tires – a legacy that remains the backbone of the company today. In 2013, Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels celebrated 50 years of innovation and product excellence.
A History of Innovation
Mickey and Gene started designing their own tires with the goal of building the first 500 mph tire. In 1960 these tires helped him to become the fastest man on earth by traveling at 406.6 mph.
In 1963, the Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels began with the development of a new open-wheel racing tire that had a softer compound and a lower profile giving racers a lower center of gravity and greater stability, and then offered a 12-inch wheel to complement the tire. The following year, a 15-inch tire and wheel combination was added and Mickey Thompson became the first tire company to offer 50-, 60- and 70-series “Indy Profile” tires.
In the ’70s, the legendary ET Drag tires for the strip were introduced and the company expanded research and development efforts to include tires for the Thompson-founded SCORE off-road and Mickey Thompson stadium short-course racing series. Thompson used the specially designed truck tires in 1982 to win the Baja 1000 and set a new record time for the event.
The company introduced the Sportsman tire in 1982, the widest high-performance street legal tire ever made, and in 1991, the Sportsman Pro tire was launched. With its specially designed tread, unique “hot and sticky” drag tire compound and flexible wrinkle wall construction, the Sportsman Pro provided Pro Street racers with a street legal tire that could be used for drag racing. The tire was inducted into the Hot Rod Magazine Speed Parts Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the early 2000s, product development continued with the introduction of a diverse group of truck and off-road radial tires, as well as a full range of wheels. In 2008, the company introduced the Pro-5 Drag wheel offering the lightest practical weight and the greatest strength available from any aluminum wheel today. In the past several years alone, Mickey Thompson has introduced numerous new tires and wheels for street, strip, truck, off-road and motorcycle including several award winners.
Mickey Thompson Innovations
1963 Wide/Low Tires at the Indy 500-12″ Wheel
1964 First Wide/Low Tires at the Indy 500-15″ Wheel
1965 S/S Cheater Slicks
1966 First 70 Series Tire
1969 First 60 Series Tire
1970 Raised White Letter Tires
1971 First 50 Series Tire
1973 Tall Light Truck Tire 35″ O.D.
1977 On/Off Road Tire with Tread on the Sidewalls
1978 Large Light Truck Radial Tire
1982 Widest D.O.T. Street Tire
1987 Quiet On/Off Road Light Truck Tire
1988 “Z” Speed Rated Bias-Belted Ultra High Performance Tire (305/40ZB16)
1989 Strongest Widest Light Weight Forged Aluminum Wheel
1991 D.O.T. Approved Race Tires – Sportsman Pro
1994 17″ Off-Road Racing Tires & Wheels (DOT Approved)
500 MPH Bonneville LSR Tire
Challenger Series Forged Wheels
1996 World’s Fastest D.O.T. Tire
1998 Directional 4×4 Tire with Sidebiters – Baja Claw
2000 World’s Fastest D.O.T. Motorcycle Tire – MCR2
2001 Patent Awarded for Baja Claw Design
Kevlar Belted 4×4 Tires
2002 Radial Drag Slick – ET Drag Radial
2003 Cooper Tire Acquires Mickey Thompson Tires
World’s Fastest DOT Approved Street Legal Drag Radial – ET Street Radial
Classic Lock Simulated Bead Lock Wheel
2004 ET Drag Wheel
World’s Largest Street Rod Radial Tire – Sportsman S/R Radial Tire
Specialty Light Truck (SLT) Radial Tire Sizing up to 40″
2005 World’s Largest One-Piece Drag Wheel 15×12
World’s Largest One-Piece Hot Rod Wheel 20×16
2009 World’s First Tire With Directional Sidebiters – Baja Claw TTC
2010 World’s First One Piece Drag Wheel with Integrated Beadlock System – Pro 5 ET Drag Beadlock Wheel
2011 World’s First Direct Bolt-On Simulated 10-Lug Wheel – Classic Big Rig Wheel
2012 World’s Fastest D.O.T. Drag Radial – ET Street Radial Pro
World’s First Steel Wheel Stamped Tattoo – Mickey Metal Series
Enhanced Stance System (ESS) Engineered for Optimum Vehicle Stance – Street Comp SC-5 Wheel