Aug 15, 2023

Do Desert Shrubs and Shopping Bags Make Great Race Tires?

A desert shrub. Used plastic shopping bags. Do these sound like sources of materials for race tires? Well, they’re going into some of the race tires Firestone supplies for IndyCar. Here’s why.

Background Information

The Music City Grand Prix last weekend marked the one-year anniversary of incorporating natural rubber derived from the guayule plant into the sidewalls of the series’ alternate tires. Teams use the alternate tires when they need extra speed on road courses and street circuits. Firestone offers the tires with guayule only at its street circuits–St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Detroit, Toronto and Nashville.

Before Firestone debuted the tire made with guayule at Nashville, teams tested it at Sebring International Raceway.

“The feedback from the teams was that it was basically the same tire,” says Firestone Chief Engineer Cara Krstolic. “Josef Newgarden said, ‘It’s not a big deal because I couldn’t tell any difference.’ For us that’s a huge deal.”

At the end of the day, Firestone’s racing division has one primary goal. “We don’t want to sacrifice performance,” Cara says. “We want to …

Source: Grassroot Motorsports

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