Bridgestone Americas Inc. gave media a look at its Bridgestone Advanced Tire Production Center now under construction in Akron, Ohio.
The plant will be the company's race tire production facility and is a blend of the old and new. Parts of an old Firestone plant built in the early 1900s are serving as the "bones" of some of the new plant, which will produce 28,000 to 30,000 race tires a year when at full capacity in four years.
Bridgestone 's Firestone brand is the sole tire supplier for the NTT IndyCar race series, which includes the Indianapolis 500.
The company is targeting next January for the first race tires produced at the facility to be tested on tracks such as Sebring International Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to Cara Adams. director, race tire engineering and production.
"Racing is the ultimate proving ground," said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer. Racing offers quick validation, quick evaluation, he said.
MTD asked Lisa Boggs, director of motorsports, if the company has thought about using the Bridgestone brand instead of Firestone, and she said no, there are no discussions. Firestone is the race tire brand.
The company, based in Nashville, Tenn., elected to keep the race tire production in Akron due to the strong legacy the company has with the city, which spans more than 100 years. Its race tires are currenty produced at a plant a short distance from the one under construction.Famed race car driver and company ambassador Mario Andretti was on hand to talk about the plant and what it means for the future. "We never stop learning, testing and trying to go faster," he said.