Bridgestone Americas celebrated June 22 the grand opening of its new Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) in Akron, Ohio. Home to 60 expert tire builders and manufacturing professionals, the ATPC will manufacture all Firestone Firehawk race tires for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
The new ATPC continues a legacy of tire manufacturing in Akron that began with the founding of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1900. 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 small batches of specialty, prototype tires for testing and development purposes for both racing and on-road applications.
Legendary 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti was one of the dignitaries who helped to cut the ribbon opening the state-of-the-art facility.
"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."
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. Design and specification enhancements contributing to the increased efficiency include 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.
Each season, more than 25,000 Firestone Firehawk race tires made in Akron are supplied to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Part of Bridgestone since 1988, Firestone has been the exclusive tire supplier for the premier open-wheel racing series in North America for the past 23 seasons, and its history in racing dates to winning the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
As further proof of its commitment to motorsports, Firestone also announced it will become the sole tire supplier for the Indy Lights series starting in 2023. The ATPC will manufacture all tires for Indy Lights.