By: Tanner Watkins
February 6, 2019 | 10:00 AM
Today it was announced that INDYCAR and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. will continue a longstanding partnership that will see the Firestone brand serve as the NTT IndyCar Series’ exclusive tire provider through the 2025 season. The announcement was made at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway.
The 2019 season will be the 20th consecutive IndyCar Series campaign where Firestone has been the sole tire provider. In addition to today’s announced five-year contract extension, Bridgestone revealed plans to build a brand new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Akron, Ohio that will serve as the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing.
“Champions have relied on Firestone tires for more than a century, and racing has always been the ideal proving ground for new technologies that help us evolve and advance our company’s passenger tire offerings,” said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.
“As the NTT IndyCar Series continues gaining momentum, we are introducing new fans to the Firestone brand and strengthening our relationship with the drivers who use our durable, dependable Firestone tires.”
In a release provided by INDYCAR, it is expected that Firestone will produce and deliver more than 26,000 Firehawk race tires during the 2019 campaign – including over 6,000 tires to be used during Indianapolis 500 festivities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May.
“Firestone has long been a great INDYCAR partner and is making a huge investment to the NTT IndyCar Series with its new facility in Akron,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “This extension also reflects Firestone’s commitment to helping to shape INDYCAR’s paddock-wide, five-year plan.”
On-hand for today’s announcement were executives from INDYCAR as well as Bridgestone Americas, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti, and three-time Indianapolis 500 pole-winner Ed Carpenter.
Andretti, in particular, has a long and storied relationship with Firestone. The tire company was on Andretti’s car for his 1969 Indianapolis 500 triumph, and has been the winning tire for 69 editions of the Indy 500.
“I started driving on Firestone tires 55 years ago, and they were on my car for the 1969 Indianapolis 500 when I took the checkered flag,” Andretti said. “The trust I have always placed in Firestone was cemented that day 50 years ago when I drove on the same right rear tire for the whole race – and it never let me down. Firestone has always been a dependable partner, and I am excited to see its partnership with INDYCAR continue into the future.”
This offseason, Firestone expanded their footprint in IndyCar by picking up sponsorship of the NTT IndyCar Series season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Firestone is now the title sponsor for the first and last races of the season and plans to offer other forms of season-long engagement that includes experiences for fans, sponsorships and signage at other IndyCar venues through 2019.
Header image by Chris Owens/INDYCAR.