Bridgestone debuted a new IndyCar tire at the recent Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee, which uses a sidewall made with natural rubber derived from the guayule desert shrub.
“The introduction of guayule natural rubber to America’s preeminent open-wheel racing series speaks to the confidence we have in the technology and its potential as a scalable, sustainable and domestic source of natural rubber—a vital raw material,” said Nizar Trigui, CTO and group president, Solutions Businesses, Bridgestone Americas. “This milestone represents our commitment to realizing a more sustainable future for tires, racing and mobility.”
Guayule is a heat tolerant, woody shrub that thrives in America’s desert southwest. The shrub can be farmed with existing row-crop equipment, helping to save costs for farmers. Bridgestone believes guayule rubber has the potential to have a positive economic effect while aiding in reducing the energy and other environmental impacts associated with the transportation of rubber sourced overseas.
The company launched its guayule research initiative in 2012 when it broke ground on a guayule processing and research center in Mesa, Arizona. Currently, the company operates the research center in Mesa, as well as a 287-acre guayule farm in Eloy, Arizona. To date, it has invested more than US$100m in its efforts to commercialize guayule rubber in tires by 2030.