ROME (July 11, 2007) — Bridgestone Corp. will move production and quality control of race tires it makes for the GP2 Series—a Formula 1 “feeder” series—later this year to its Technical Centre Europe (TCE) near Rome.
Bridgestone said adding a second manufacturing site provides a safeguard against the risk of supply bottlenecks, and it noted that race tires supplied from Europe for European races will incur lower transport costs and will lower the environmental impact. Until now, all GP2 race tire development and production has been in Tokyo.
The output will be warehoused at the Bridgestone Motorsport facility in Langley, England.
Series production will begin in Rome in September, but initial track testing of a limited number of tires produced at the Rome facility is scheduled for the week of July 16.
“We shall need to update some of the tire production machines and invest in additional final inspection equipment,” said Franco Annunziato, TCE managing director. “But beyond that, I am confident our existing team and facilities will cope extremely competently with this new responsibility.”
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, the GP2's sanctioning body, recently renewed Bridgestone's contract for GP2 through the 2010 season. The 2007 GP2 season consists of 11 race weekends—all but one run on tracks in Europe—with 13 two-car teams participating, generating demand for about 650 tires per race weekend.