Bridgestone Americas announced today that major strides have been made during the off-season to incorporate more sustainable and bio-circular materials into the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season, “highlighting the advancement of three key initiatives that will make the upcoming season the most sustainable to date for America’s premier open-wheel racing series.
The alternate [softer] compound Firestone Firehawks used in last year’s Music City Grand Prix on the streets of downtown Nashville will become the norm for all temporary tracks on the 2023 IndyCar schedule. This entails Firestone producing more than 1900 tires using a sidewall material made exclusively with rubber derived from the guayule woody desert shrub grown on the company’s farm in Eloy, AZ.
Bridgestone has already invested more than $100m to commercialize guayule and has received multiple U.S. government grants for guayule research and development. In August 2022, Bridgestone announced its plans to invest an additional $42m to establish commercial operations, with additional investment and expansion toward 2030. This investment should increase capacity of up to 25,000 additional acres of farmland for planting and harvesting guayule in collaboration with local U.S. farmers and Native American tribes.
Bridgestone is targeting commercial production of guayule-derived natural rubber by the end of the decade, and is ultimately aiming for carbon neutrality and tires made from 100 percent sustainable materials by 2050.
Additionally, the majority of race tires used this season will be manufactured at Firestone’s new energy-efficient Advanced Test Production Center (ATPC) in Akron, OH., which was opened last June. The facility has now received International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), plus recognition for its transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials.
The third announcement from Bridgestone today is that the company will utilize “ISCC mass balance certified synthetic rubber made with recycled plastics” in all tires used in this May’s 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. The tires will incorporate ISCC recycled-attributed butadiene, “a monomer produced with recycled post-consumer plastic waste, to create the synthetic rubber in the tire. The new monomer will replace the fossil-based monomer and will be supplied by Shell, the race series’ official fuel, oil and lubricant sponsor.”
Paolo Ferrari, CEO of Bridgestone Americas, said: “We are driving sustainability in every area of our business, and we’re thrilled to be advancing guayule and other sustainable practices in America’s premier open-wheel racing series.
“Firestone has a tremendous legacy of innovation and performance in racing, which we will continue to build upon as we move into this new era of cleaner, safer and more sustainable mobility on and off the track.”