Firestone using hard-to-recycle plastic in tires for 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500
26 May 2023
Bridgestone Americas in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske and Shell, is proud of the efforts made to make the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2023 the most sustainable Indianapolis 500 in the history of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
As the series’ exclusive tire supplier, Bridgestone has incorporated ISCC PLUS certified recycled butadiene1, a monomer produced from hard-to-recycle used plastic shopping bags, film, stretch wrap and other flexible polymer packaging, developed in partnership with Shell, in all Firestone Firehawk race tires used at the Indianapolis 500. Bridgestone will manufacture all race tires for the 2023 season at the ISCC PLUS-certified Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) in Akron.
Additionally, Bridgestone has partnered with Penske and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to transport all race tires to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) with electric 2023 Freightliner eCascadia from Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles during the month of May.
“We are driving to increase sustainability in every area of our business, and we’re thrilled to showcase our commitment to sustainability in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’,” said Paolo Ferrari, President & CEO, Bridgestone Americas and Joint Global Chief Operating Officer, Bridgestone Corporation. “We are further committed to a thriving and more sustainable future in motorsports.”
ISCC PLUS certified Circular Butadiene* for Tire Production
This year at the Indy 500, all race tires – for practice, qualifying and the race itself – incorporate ISCC PLUS certified recycled-attributed butadiene1, a monomer produced from hard-to-recycle used plastic shopping bags, film, stretch wrap and other flexible polymer packaging, in the synthetic rubber in the tire. The new monomer replaces the petroleum-based monomer and will be supplied by Shell, the race series’ official fuel, oil and lubricant supplier.
Advanced Tire Production Center with ISCC PLUS Certification
Bridgestone will manufacture all Firestone Firehawk race tires for the 2023 Indianapolis 500 at the ISCC PLUS certified ATPC in Akron. The certification was awarded to the facility on November 2, 2022, for its transparency and traceability of sustainable raw materials including bio, bio-circular and circular-based synthetic rubber1. The ATPC is one of five Bridgestone facilities in North America to be awarded the certification. Implementing more sustainable practices in its manufacturing facilities are a critical element of Bridgestone’s sustainability goals, including its aim to achieve carbon neutrality and tires made with 100% renewable and recycled materials by 2050.
“We’re pleased with the performance of our Firestone Firehawk race tires during practice and qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.” said Cara Krstolic, chief engineer, Bridgestone Americas. “Recycled monomer was used in the production of these tires and the tires have proven to maintain the same high standard of performance we expect. In fact, they were part of multiple qualifying records, including the fastest four-lap average speed for a pole winner (Alex Palou, 234.217 mph), the closest front row (.103 of a mph separating Palou from No. 3 starter Felix Rosenqvist), and the fastest starting field in Indy 500 history (average speed of 232.184 mph).”
Bridgestone has again partnered with Penske and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) to transport all Firestone Firehawk race tires to IMS using new, electrically powered 2023 Freightliner eCascadia trucks from Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles during the month of May. IMS installed a 15kW high-power electric charging station at the track last year to allow for convenient charging. The collaboration between Bridgestone and Penske is aimed at helping to advance sustainable solutions in motorsports to reduce the sport’s impact on the environment and helping ensure fans can enjoy the thrills of racing for generations to come.
Guayule Natural Rubber
Firestone Firehawk race tires with sidewalls made using guayule-derived natural rubber were first introduced at the Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge in May 2022 as a first look before debuting in competition as the alternate race tire at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in August of last year. For the 2023 season, alternative tires using guayule-derived natural rubber have been expanded to all street courses.
Accelerating implementation of solution technologies that promote sustainability for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 season aligns with the Bridgestone E8 Commitment, which establishes eight values starting with the letter “E” to solidify Bridgestone’s commitment to working toward a more sustainable world. These sustainability initiatives are examples of the values “Emotion,” “Ecology” and “Energy.
1The recycled material is allocated using the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) mass balance approach. Find out more about ISCC and our ATPC ISCC Plus certification at: www.iscc-system.org .
About Bridgestone Americas, Inc.:
Bridgestone Americas, Inc. is the U.S.-based subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, a global leader in tires and rubber, building on its expertise to provide solutions for safe and sustainable mobility. Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Bridgestone Americas employs more than 45,000 people across its worldwide operations. Bridgestone offers a diverse product portfolio of premium tires and advanced solutions backed by innovative technologies, improving the way people around the world move, live, work and play.