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IndyCar, IMS, Firestone, Shell announce eco-friendly plans, including a natural rubber tire

IndyCar Firestone green

Chris Jones - IMS/IndyCar Photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NTT IndyCar Series, Firestone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are going green.

Penske Entertainment, the parent company of the series, announced Friday it will start implementing more eco-friendly plans starting with next month’s Indianapolis 500. The race is scheduled for May 29.

Firestone will debut a new and eco-friendly natural rubber guayule race tire May 27 during the Miller Lite Carb Day IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge. The tire will make its competition debut as the alternate race tire (formerly known as the “red” tire) in the Aug. 5-7 weekend at the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee.

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All tires delivered to the speedway also will be relayed by electric vehicles and all electricity consumed at the speedway this May will be purchased through 100% renewable energy credits. Race organizers say fans also can offset their carbon footprint by donating to the GreenTrees reforestation project, something the speedway will support financially.

Other initiatives to be adopted this May include expanded recycling and food recovery programs and a retail store inside an electric truck where every item sold will be reusable or designed from recycled plastic.

Long-term plans by IndyCar, announced to coincide with wider efforts across the nation and globe to celebrate Earth Day, include expanded use of the guayule rubber tire and using transporters that use renewable fuel.

They were unveiled in partnership with Firestone, Shell and additional corporate partners that have worked with IMS and IndyCar on a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the venue and sport.

“This will be the most sustainable Indy 500 in our 100-plus year history,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Moreover, through excellent coordination and teamwork with partners who are true innovators in this field, we’re moving INDYCAR toward industry leadership when it comes to environmental awareness and impact.”

The tire contains natural rubber derived from the guayule shrub, which organizers say requires less re-harvesting than traditional sources of rubber.

“It will take partnership and collaboration to combat the impacts of global climate change, and we are proud to partner with Penske, IndyCar and IMS to advance the future of sustainable mobility,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer and group president, Solutions Businesses, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “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 promise as a scalable, sustainable and domestic raw material.”

Firestone, IMS, the state of Indiana and veteran motorsports partner Shell also announced today that all race tires being supplied for Indy 500 practice, qualifications and Race Day will be delivered to the “Racing Capital of the World” from their Central Indiana warehouse using the Freightliner eCascadia from Penske Truck Leasing’s fleet of electric vehicles.