Bridgestone Opens Advanced Tire Production Center to Produce IndyCar Race Tires

·3 min read
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Icon Sportswire - Getty Images
  • The $21 million facility in Akron, Ohio will manufacture all Firestone Firehawk race tires for the NTT IndyCar Series and, beginning in 2023, Indy Lights.

  • Designed for more efficient and sustainable tire production, the Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) will be home to 60 tire builders and is designed for more efficient and sustainable tire production.

  • The ATPC is the first new tire plant in Akron in more than 70 years.

Bridgestone Americas today underscored it's commitment to the city of Akron, Ohio and the NTT IndyCar Series with the grand opening of its new Advanced Tire Production Center.

The facility will manufacture all the tires for the IndyCar Series. In addition, beginning in 2023, the facility will also be responsible for producing all the tires for the Indy Lights series. Currently, more than 25,000 Firestone Firehawk race tires are made in Akron and supplied to the IndyCar series.

Firestone has been the exclusive tire supplier to Indy car racing since 2000. Goodyear ended its 36-year association with open-wheel racing following the 1999 season in the midst of the sport's IRL/CART feud.

Bridgestone invested more than $21 million to build its new home for race tire production, which includes both new construction and the redevelopment of an existing structure. Located across the street from the Bridgestone Americas Technology Center, one of three major R&D centers for Bridgestone globally, the 80,000 square-foot ATPC features state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies to advance innovation in race tires.

The ATPC will also manufacture what the company describes as "small batches of specialty, prototype tires" for testing and development purposes for both racing and on-road applications.

Photo credit: Bridgestone/Firestone
Photo credit: Bridgestone/Firestone

“The new ATPC is a reflection of both our proud history in Akron and racing while also exemplifying our company’s vision for sustainability in all aspects of our business,” said Paolo Ferrari, president & CEO, Bridgestone Americas. “For more than a century, Akron has been where our most advanced tires have been conceived, designed and built, and now we are furthering this legacy in a more sustainable production environment where the world’s best engineers, technicians and master tire builders will shape the future of tires and racing.”

According to Bridgestone, the new facility is designed for more efficient and sustainable race tire production. The new ATPC uses 60 percent less energy than the company’s previous race tire manufacturing facility. The facility features a more compact building footprint, insulated roofing, a more efficient boiler system, and high-mounted LED lighting throughout the plant. Additionally, Bridgestone has purchased carbon offsets to cover the balance of its energy use to achieve carbon neutral operations at the ATPC, supporting the company’s global goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The facility grounds will include a $6 million test track on the grounds. That test track is expected to be completed later this fall and will be used for passenger tire testing and development. The investment is part of more than $125 million that Bridgestone has invested into its Akron complex since 2012.

"I'd like to thank Bridgestone for their ongoing commitment to the city of Akron," said Akron mayor Dan Horrigan. "Akron's history is undoubtedly intertwined with Bridgestone's and I'm honored to help open the new Advanced Tire Production Center here. I look forward to Bridgestone's continued success in Akron."