Bridgestone's New Race Tire Plant on Track - Tire Review Magazine

Bridgestone’s New Race Tire Plant on Track

Bridgestone opened its doors to members of the media this week to give an update on the construction of the facility, which will be the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing.

IndyCar legend Mario Andretti and Bridgestone’s Jerry Morris discuss the company’s new race tire plant in Akron, Ohio during a media tour Nov. 11.

Metal clanging and the faint beep of construction equipment in the distance may sound like your average, everyday construction site. But at the corner of Firestone Parkway and Wilbeth Road in Akron, Ohio, that construction signified the continuation of a legacy in IndyCar racing.

“IndyCar racing, in particular the Indy 500, is really at the core of our business,” said Laura Boggs, director of motorsports for Bridgestone Tire Americas Operations, during a media tour of what will be Bridgestone’s new race tire manufacturing facility. “It started more than a century ago with Harvey Firestone, and it’s still at the core of our business today. We’re very proud of our legacy with the sport.”

Bridgestone opened its doors to members of the media this week to give an update on the construction of the facility, which will be the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing. The building, called the Bridgestone Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC), will be located across the street from the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center and less than a mile from the Bridgestone Advanced Technology Workshop, where race tires are currently produced. IndyCar legend Mario Andretti, who tested Firestone race tires early in his career, joined the media on the tour to see the facility and offer insight into the significance of the partnership with IndyCar and Bridgestone.

“In many ways, what Firestone is doing [with the construction of a new race tire facility] is looking at the long-range future and strength of the IndyCar series,” Andretti said. “The future and strength of the IndyCar series depends heavily on Firestone tires.”

During the tour, Bridgestone staff touted the new manufacturing technologies that would be used in the facility, including new mixing equipment, which will contribute to the plant’s efficiency. Unlike at its current facility, the race tire building staff, as well as its R&D teams, will be under one roof, adding to the efficiency of the manufacturing process.

“Right now in our current facility that was built in the early 1900s, they make tires over there and the testing is done here,” said Cara Adams, director of race tire engineering and production. “As an engineering organization to be able to have this right across the street, it offers a lot to us. Not only to keep our tires here [in Akron], but it’s also great for our engineering teams because we’re able to walk right across the street and see the construction of the tires and look at them as they come off the line.”

Currently, construction continues on Bridgestone’s race tire manufacturing facility in Akron, Ohio, where Firestone tires used un the NTT IndyCar series will be made. The facility is slated to make its first tire in early 2020.

With the foundation of the building laid, the structure will be enclosed with windows by December, just in time to move in the first tire-building machine, Adams said. Gradually, equipment from the old facility will move over in the next few months. All race tire manufacturing will move to the new facility over the next four years, and early plans call for the site to produce its first Firestone Firehawk race tires for testing in the IndyCar Series by the end of 2020. Those tires will be slated for use in IndyCar races in 2021. Adams said in four years, the plant is expected to reach capacity, producing around 30,000 tires per year.

“The idea is to make consistent operations between here and there [the old manufacturing facility], so before we start upgrading, we have to make sure the process is the same and the tires are the same,” Adams said. “These drivers [IndyCar drivers] are very, very discerning. The very smallest change in the tire they can pick up.”

Cara Adams, director of race tire engineering and production, answers questions from the media during a press conference Monday at the company’s upcoming race tire manufacturing facility.

While the plant’s main focus will be to produce race tires for the IndyCar series, Nizer Trigui, chief technology officer for Bridgestone, said the facility will also produce experimental tires that its teams can study across a variety of segments with the additional manufacturing, testing and R&D space.

In addition to constructing its new race tire factory, Bridgestone pledged a five-year commitment in February to continue serving as the sole tire supplier and official tire of the NTT IndyCar Series through 2025. At the beginning of this month, Roger Penske, founder of chairman of Penske Corp., purchased the company that owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IndyCar series and IMS Productions.

“All of these things are the momentum we need, that the company needs and that the series needs, to move forward,” Boggs said.

Laura Boggs, director of motorsports, details the Firestone brand’s heritage in IndyCar racing during a press conference updating media on the progress of its new race tire manufacturing facility Nov. 11.

You May Also Like

ADD Group to Present Various Product Lines at AM Shanghai 2023

The company is highlighting new complete strut assemblies and air shocks for EV applications.


ADD Group is exhibiting various product lines at Hall 3 Booth 3N35 at Automechanika Shanghai 2023, Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. The group says it is exhibiting its full line of shocks, struts, and complete strut assemblies, along with air shocks, strut mounts, motor mounts and engine sealing parts for passenger cars, SUVs, pickups, light trucks, commercial and heavy-duty vehicles.

Sentury Tire Voluntarily Recalls Batch of Passenger Tires

The recall includes certain Arroyo, Landgolden, Landsail, Lexani, Lionhart, Mavis, Mohave, National, Radar and Vercelli lines.

VIP Tires & Service Executive Chairman’s Five Steps to Keeping Customers for Life

John Quirk says customers do not simply support VIP due to getting great service; it’s because his people build relationships.

Tirebuyer Rebrands as Treadsy, Shifts Business Focus

The company said its first ‘powered by Treadsy’ partnership is with Rent-A-Center.

Treads Partners with Anyline for Enhanced Car Management

Anyline and Treads partnered to include data and analytics via the Treads app, starting with Anyline’s Tread Depth Scanner.

Other Posts

Yokohama-Equipped Lamborghini Wins Super GT Series Finale

A Lamborghini fitted with Yokohama tires won the GT300 class in the 2023 Super GT finale, the fourth victory with Advan tires this year.

Bridgestone Honored as Top Company for Women in Transportation

Bridgestone received an award from Women in Trucking for promoting benefits and advancement for female employees.

Falken Tires Earns RTS Top Market Share Increase Award

The award acknowledges Falken’s commitment to innovation and quality in the passenger car/light truck segment.

Discount Tire Awards Scholarship to USF Pro Championships Driver

Discount Tire awarded $664,500 in scholarship money to USF Pro 2000 champion Myles Rowe.