Parent company Bridgestone Americas says great strides have been made during the off-season to incorporate more sustainable and bio-cyclical materials into its IndyCar products, which it believes will make the upcoming season the most sustainable yet.
The alternate, softer Firestone Firehawks compound used in last year’s Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville will become the norm for the five temporary tracks on the 2023 IndyCar schedule.
This means that Firestone produces more than 1900 tires using a sidewall material made exclusively with rubber derived from the guayule wood desert bush grown on the company’s farm in Eloy, Arizona.
Bridgestone has already invested more than $100m in commercializing guayule and has received multiple US government grants for research and development of guayule.
In August 2022, Bridgestone announced plans to invest an additional $42m to establish commercial operations, with further investment and expansion towards 2030. This investment should increase capacity by up to 25,000 additional acres of farmland for planting and harvesting guayule in collaboration with local US. farmers and Native American tribes.
Bridgestone is targeting commercial production of guayule-derived natural rubber by the end of the decade, and aims for carbon neutrality with tires made entirely from sustainable materials by 2050.
Most of the race tires used this season will be manufactured at Firestone’s new energy-efficient Advanced Test Production Center in Akron, Ohio, which has received International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) as well as recognition for its transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials.
Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images
The company will also use “ISCC mass balance certified synthetic rubber made with recycled plastics” in all tires used in the Indianapolis 500.
Paolo Ferrari, CEO of Bridgestone Americas, said: “We drive sustainability in every area of our business, and we are pleased to be promoting guayule and other sustainable practices in America’s premier open-wheel racing series.
“Firestone has a great heritage of innovation and performance in racing, which we will continue to build on as we move into this new era of cleaner, safer and more sustainable mobility on and off the track.”