NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 2, 2023) – Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) celebrates its first-year milestone of using Firestone Firehawk race tires with sidewalls made of natural rubber derived from the guayule desert shrub, grown in Americas desert southwest. Throughout the course of the year, guayule-derived alternate tires have met the same demanding performance street course race specifications as alternate tires used with traditional hevea rubber. Guayule is proving to be a successful replacement for traditional rubber sources, which is a major stride in domestic sourcing and improved sustainability in motorsports.
The guayule-derived tires first made their competition debut at the 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville and will compete again as the alternate tire during race weekend in Nashville on Aug. 4-6.
Key Achievements in 2023:
- For the 2023 INDYCAR season, alternate tires using guayule-derived natural rubber has been featured in all five street course races.
- Bridgestone utilized more than an acre of guayule to develop the 1,863 guayule-derived alternate tires for the 2023 INDYCAR season.
- The top speed recorded on guayule-derived tires is 190 mph, matching speeds with non-guayule alternate tires.
Benefits of guayule include:
- The heat tolerant, woody shrub thrives in America’s desert southwest.
- Guayule can be farmed with existing row-crop equipment, making it a competitive crop and cutting costs for farmers.
- As a domestic source of natural rubber, guayule can have a positive economic effect while aiding in reducing the energy and other environmental impacts associated with the transportation of rubber from overseas.
Advancing Sustainable Motorsports
The one-year milestone of guayule in racing represents Bridgestone’s commitment to realizing a more sustainable future for tires, racing and mobility.
Bridgestone is using racing as a proving ground to demonstrate the performance of the natural rubber material, which it has been heavily researching for more than a decade. Bridgestone launched its guayule research initiative in 2012. Today, the company operates a guayule processing and research center in Mesa, Arizona as well as a 287-acre guayule farm in Eloy, Arizona. The company has invested more than $100 million in guayule to date, another key milestone in Bridgestone’s use of the natural rubber alternative.
Guayule is part of Bridgestone’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100% renewable materials by 2050. The company is actively researching a range of solutions to support the recycling of materials from end-of-life tires and promote the replacement of non-renewable materials such as oil, silica and virgin carbon black in new tires.
Accelerating implementation of advancements in our sustainable solutions goals in the 2023 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix 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.”