Firestone Race Tires Made with Natural Rubber from Desert Shrubs Reach One Year Milestone in Meeting Demanding Track Performance Requirements

Also: Firestone Firehawk Race Tire Facts for Nashville’s Music City Grand Prix    (Below)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 2, 2023) – Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) celebrates its  first-year milestone of using Firestone Firehawk race tires with sidewalls made of natural rubber derived from the guayule desert shrub, grown in Americas desert southwest. Throughout the course of the year, guayule-derived alternate tires have met the same demanding performance street course race specifications as alternate tires used with traditional hevea rubber. Guayule is proving to be a successful replacement for traditional rubber sources, which is a major stride in domestic sourcing and improved sustainability in motorsports.

The guayule-derived tires first made their competition debut at the 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville and will compete again as the alternate tire during race weekend in Nashville on Aug. 4-6.

Key Achievements in 2023:

  • For the 2023 INDYCAR season, alternate tires using guayule-derived natural rubber has been featured in all five street course races.
  • Bridgestone utilized more than an acre of guayule to develop the 1,863 guayule-derived alternate tires for the 2023 INDYCAR season.
  • The top speed recorded on guayule-derived tires is 190 mph,matching speeds with non-guayule alternate tires.

Click here to view a brief video clip on guayule and here for photos.

Benefits of guayule include:

  • The heat tolerant, woody shrub thrives in America’s desert southwest.
  • Guayule can be farmed with existing row-crop equipment, making it a competitive crop and cutting costs for farmers.
  • As a domestic source of natural rubber, guayule can have a positive economic effect while aiding in reducing the energy and other environmental impacts associated with the transportation of rubber from overseas.

Advancing Sustainable Motorsports

The one-year milestone of guayule in racing represents Bridgestone’s commitment to realizing a more sustainable future for tires, racing and mobility.

Bridgestone is using racing as a proving ground to demonstrate the performance of the natural rubber material, which it has been heavily researching for more than a decade. Bridgestone launched its guayule research initiative in 2012. Today, the company operates a guayule processing and research center in Mesa, Arizona as well as a 287-acre guayule farm in Eloy, Arizona. The company has invested more than $100 million in guayule to date, another key milestone in Bridgestone’s use of the natural rubber alternative.

Guayule is part of Bridgestone’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality and make tires from 100% renewable materials by 2050. The company is actively researching a range of solutions to support the recycling of materials from end-of-life tires and promote the replacement of non-renewable materials such as oil, silica and virgin carbon black in new tires.

Accelerating implementation of advancements in our sustainable solutions goals in the 2023 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix aligns with the Bridgestone E8 Commitment, which establishes eight values starting with the letter “E” to solidify Bridgestone’s commitment to working toward a more sustainable world. These sustainability initiatives are examples of the values “Emotion,” “Ecology” and “Energy.”

Firestone Firehawk Race Tire Facts for Nashville’s Music City Grand Prix

This NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the streets (and bridge!) of Nashville, Tennessee, this weekend for the third edition of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. INDY NXT by Firestone will also be part of this weekend’s event. 

Firestone Racing provides a real-time tire tracker at for qualifying, including Firestone Fast Six, at street and road courses races for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of new (sticker) alternate tires for at least two laps in the race. 


Firestone is supplying more than 1,500 race tires to teams and drivers for practice, qualifying (including the Firestone Fast Six), and Sunday’s 80-lap race on the 2.15-mile temporary street circuit that runs by Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans, and over the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge into downtown Nashville.  

It’s been a year since Firestone Firehawk Guayule race tire made its successful debut at the previous Nashville race and has since been featured as the alternate tire at four more city circuits during the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season. This year’s alternative green sidewall tire is the same construction and design as the one that debuted last year. The primary tire construction and compound for this weekend’s event are the same as the 2022 street course tire.   

Each NTT INDYCAR SERIES entry will receive the following allocation of Firestone Firehawk race tires:  

  • Primary (black): 6 sets per entry*  
  • Alternate (guayule green sidewall): 4 sets per entry  
  • Rain (gray): 5 sets per entry  
    *Rookies receive an extra set  

    Note from Cara Krstolic, Chief Engineer: Teams and drivers will be provided with the same primary tires that were raced on street circuits in both 2022 and 2023. The guayule alternate race tires are the same used at all temporary street competitions held in St. Pete, Long Beach, Detroit, and Toronto this season.    

INDY NXT by Firestone  

Firestone is supplying nearly 350 race tires to INDY NXT by Firestone teams and drivers for practice, qualifying, and the 35-lap (73.5 miles or 55-minute) race on Sunday.  

Each INDY NXT by Firestone entry will receive the following Firestone Firehawk race tire allocation:  

  • Primary: 3 sets per entry  
  • Rain: 1 set per entry 

Note from Cara Krstolic, Chief Engineer: INDY NXT teams will run the same race tires at Nashville that were provided at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Detroit Grand Prix, and Honda Indy Toronto this season.