Bridgestone Americas Inc. has formed a partnership with the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), a global competition among university teams to program a modified Dallara IL-15 racecar and compete in the world’s first autonomous high-speed, head-to-head race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). Bridgestone will serve as the exclusive tire supplier for the event, which is scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021.
Bridgestone will work closely with the IAC and its participating teams on a collective vision to push the boundaries of self-driving car technology and increase public awareness of the impact that automation can have on society. This mission closely aligns with Bridgestone’s strategic shift to evolve its focus beyond tires to provide sustainable mobility and advanced solutions that create new value for its customers and society.
“Bridgestone is committed to collaborating with innovative partners to pioneer active, intelligent and digitally-integrated technologies that improve the way people move, live, work and play,” said Paolo Ferrari, president and CEO, Bridgestone Americas. “The Indy Autonomous Challenge is a groundbreaking event bringing young engineering minds and industry leaders together to deliver the next generation of autonomous technology, and Bridgestone is proud to be part of this effort to move the world ahead.”
In combination with its Firestone brand, Bridgestone has an unrivaled history of motorsports success at IMS that dates back more than a century to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. Firestone has been the Official Tire of the Indy 500 since 2002 and has 71 wins in the iconic race – more than twice as many as all other tire manufacturers combined. Bridgestone Potenza tires also were trusted by Formula 1 drivers at the speedway from 2000-2007. Bridgestone will leverage its extensive knowledge of the track and its vast racing experience in designing new race tires that will be supplied to teams in the IAC in 2021.
“The Indy Autonomous Challenge is about innovation to further technical excellence and inspiration to our university competitors,” said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of Energy Systems Network. “We are thrilled to welcome Bridgestone, a global company, who shares that passion for success.”
In alignment with its Our Way to Serve global corporate social responsibility commitment, Bridgestone continues to support events that drive sustainable innovation in mobility while helping to develop future engineering talent. In addition to its partnership with the IAC, the company has served as title sponsor and tire supplier for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge since 2013 and recently extended its agreement with the world’s foremost solar car race through 2030.
The IAC schedule will include race simulations and on-track practice sessions at IMS in 2021 leading up to the final race in October. More information can be found at www.indyautonomouschallenge.com.