IndyCar inks 5-year pact with Firestone as official tire provider, sponsor

IndyCar announced Wednesday it has inked a five-year extension of its deal with Bridgestone Americas Inc. to keep Firestone as the racing series’ official tire and sole tire supplier.

The agreement, which runs through 2025, was announced by a delegation of leaders from IndyCar and Bridgestone, including longtime open-wheel racing ambassador and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti.

In addition to the tire deal, Firestone also sponsors the races that will bookend the 2019 season: the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10 and the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 22.

In a written statement, Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer for Bridgestone’s tire operations division, called racing an “ideal proving ground” for the company’s new technologies.

“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,” he said.

The company said more than 26,000 Firehawk race tires will be supplied to race teams throughout the season—including more than 6,000 for Indy 500-related activities in late April and early May.

Terms of the sponsorship agreement were not disclosed, but it is one of several announced by IndyCar and related properties in the last month.

Last week, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—which is operated separately from IndyCar—announced Gainbridge as the new presenting sponsor for the Indy 500. In the weeks prior, IndyCar tabbed Japanese data company NTT as its new technology partner and series sponsor.

Bridgestone also announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility for Firestone race tires in Akron, Ohio. The new facility is expected to begin production by the end of the 2020 race season, and will have more than 50 expert tire builders inside the state-of-the-art facility.

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