Bridgestone Americas executives have committed to supplying tires to IndyCar Series competitors through the 2018 season. The two parties' contract had been due to expire in 2013, and former IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard had looked to another supplier. But the new contract will keep the Firestone brand in Indy cars well past the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Tire maker Bridgestone has settled on a 281-acre site in Eloy, Ariz., for its plans to build a farm growing guayule, a rubber-producing shrub that could become a renewable alternative to existing rubber resources. A related research and development center will be built in nearby Mesa. Construction on the project will start this quarter, with trial rubber production scheduled to start in 2015.
Researchers at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations are optimistic about the prospects of using rubber produced by Russian dandelions in their manufacturing processes. They plan to follow up this summer on an initial project based at Ohio State University and launch large-scale testing in 2014.