Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) today announced plans to expand its Americas Technology Center campus to include a new vehicle dynamics test track for the development of future tire technologies.
The new tire testing facility will support ongoing research and play an indispensable role in the tire development work taking place across the Akron campus by allowing teammates the opportunity to drive prototypes firsthand and quickly understand the performance enhancements necessary for the tires they are designing. The track will also supplement comprehensive tire testing operations currently performed at Bridgestone’s Proving Grounds in Texas, Ohio, Mexico, and South America.
“We’re excited to advance our leading-edge tire and technology development with the expansion of our testing capabilities in Akron,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer and group president, solutions businesses, Bridgestone Americas. “As we continue to evolve our products and provide sustainable mobility solutions to our customers, we’re confident that this new tire test track will support enhanced product education and improve agility in engineering decision making for our product development process.”
Upon its completion in the Summer 2022, the test track facility will feature multiple vehicle dynamics courses designed to simulate the rigors of real-world driving conditions. These include a long straightaway to assess lane change performance; an NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) course to test ride comfort and road noise; and a wet and dry weather handling course.
The new test track facility is the latest in a series of investments by Bridgestone to solidify its Akron R&D campus as home to all its research, product development, technology, and core data systems throughout the Americas.
Advanced Tire Production Center
The company is also nearing completion of its Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC), slated to open next summer, where the company will manufacture Firestone race tires for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES®. The ATPC, an investment of more than $17 million, will feature state-of-the-art production technologies to support race tire manufacturing and will be capable of efficiently producing small batches of specialty, prototype tires for testing and development purposes for both racing and on-road applications.
Refurbishing and Relighting an Icon
Bridgestone will also flip the switch and relight its iconic Firestone sign atop the ATPC on November 19. The Firestone sign is an indelible part of the city’s history and stood for more than a century atop the Firestone Plant One building before being relocated to the ATPC in September of this year. In the spirit of Bridgestone’s commitment to sustainability, the Firestone sign has undergone a full restoration, complete with upgrades to its structure and the installation of more than 400 linear feet of energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
The Bridgestone Americas Technology Center Akron campus spans more than 100-acres and is home to more than 600 teammates dedicated to developing the design, specification and materials used in tires produced in both North and South America and houses multiple labs and testing technologies to develop solutions for the future of mobility. The center was designed to support both human health and a reduced environmental impact, and it has been certified as meeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications for environmentally conscious buildings in the U.S.