As part of Firestone’s partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES through the 2025 season, Bridgestone Americas is building a new facility to further strengthen Firestone’s commitment to the sport.
The work done by the approximately 50 staffers at the Bridgestone Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) in Akron, Ohio, will predominantly be INDYCAR-centric – building, curing and analyzing race tires – but there will be room to accommodate work on various types of new tires and innovations. Additionally, the campus expansion includes a test track where the company’s passenger tires can be evaluated.
Last month, Bridgestone officially “flipped the switch” on the 8,500-square-foot facility by relighting the relocated Firestone sign. The iconic sign has been an indelible part of Akron’s history and stood for more than a century atop the Firestone Plant One building before being moved to the ATPC in September. A host of engineers and tire builders from the INDYCAR program witnessed the ceremonial relighting.
The new facility will offer the staff not only nicer amenities, such as new locker rooms, but also state-of-the-art machinery that will be consistent from machine to machine. And there is room to expand, whether that’s in adding additional employee shifts or square footage if needed.
Another benefit to the ATPC are the efficiencies it will create. The building Firestone is leaving is more than 100 years old and massive by any definition.
“It’s over a million square feet, and much of it is unused,” said Cara Adams, director, Race Tire Engineering and Manufacturing and the chief engineer of Bridgestone Americas. “We use about a quarter of that space.”
Consider the winters in northern Ohio, 40 miles south of Cleveland. Buildings of that size and age are a chore to maintain when it comes to regulating temperatures. Adams described it as “way, way, way too big” for Firestone’s needs.
“Bridgestone has a big focus on sustainability, and it’s Bridgestone’s vision to serve society with superior quality while providing social and customer value as a sustainable solutions company,” she said. “One of the things that is a huge advantage going from a building that is over 100 years old to a new building is that we can create a much smaller carbon footprint. Since you have to heat the entire building, we’re going to something that’s a lot smaller, and we can be much more efficient with our use of natural resources.”
Another benefit is the proximity to the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center, the workplace of many people who support Firestone’s racing division.
“Instead of having to get in the car and driving about a mile from the technical center, our teammates will be able to basically walk across the street,” Adams said. “It will be good for all of those holiday calories.”