NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Tire development is consistently evolving, producing more innovative designs across the board. Whether it's racing or the street, tires need to perform for their drivers.
Few understand the demands of tire development better than Dale Harrigle, chief engineer, replacement tire, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO), who entered the field in 1994.
"Across my more than two decades in race tire engineering, I had design responsibility for all Indy car tires in Firestone Racing's portfolio," he told Tire Business.
After leaving the race tire engineering team following the 2016 IndyCar season, he switched gears and has worked with passenger tires since.
In years past, it was more common for engineers to focus in one area, Mr. Harrigle explained, but at Bridgestone, it's becoming more common for engineers and compounders to move back and forth between racing and passenger tires, "as each side presents great learning and experience that can influence and improve the other."
There's also more camaraderie.
"There is more collaboration between the two sides than ever before at Bridgestone, helping promote the sharing of knowledge, tools and processes to drive breakthrough innovation in both areas," he said.
Similarities and differences
"A race tire and passenger tire share common construction features," Mr. Harrigle said, "They both have beads, body plies, belts, spirally wound plies and tread."
He noted that Bridgestone makes both race and passenger tires on similar equipment and through a similar process, but that is where the commonalities primarily end.