AKRON—Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s Cara Adams, a Northeast Ohio native, talked with passion as she described the pride of seeing "made in Akron" stamped on the side of Firestone Firehawk racing tires.
And Adams, the director of Race Tire Engineering and Production at Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and Firestone Racing, wasn't alone.
Heritage was a common theme on Nov. 11 when Bridgestone opened its doors for a tour of progress being made at the firm's new Advanced Tire Production Center, under construction on a site a few blocks west of the company's Americas Technical Center in south Akron.
The 80,000-sq.-ft. facility is expected to be finished by year-end, with production scheduled before year-end 2020.
Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, talked of how Akron and Firestone have been connected to the Indianapolis 500 since the first race. Bridgestone earlier this year extended a deal to be the sole tire supplier to the NTT IndyCar Series, which includes the Indy 500, through 2025.
All of the tires for the series will be produced at the new facility, which is expected to be on stream early next year with testing of race tires to began late next year.
The company said it will take about four years to fully integrate the new site. One official added that there is a lot of new technology being used in the facility, but it will be rolled out slowly to maintain consistency as the company transitions tire production to the new site.