Firestone Engineers Recognized for Engineering Excellence at Indy

Firestone Tire. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

Firestone Tire. © [Jamie Sheldrick/ Spacesuit Media]

by Allan Brewer

Three Firestone engineers were honored with the 2019 Louis Schwitzer Award for their contributions to developing a new rubber compound and right front construction technique for the new Indianapolis 500 race tire. Cara Adams, Brett Schilling, and Phil Severyn were presented with a check for $10,000 during a ceremony at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday. The Award is presented annually by Borg Warner and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to recognize advancements in performance, safety, or efficiency at the Indianapolis 500.

The group’s work relieved a vexing problem when aerodynamic downforce is lost on the front of an IndyCar at speed. The subtle loss of grip may permit the right front tire to push into the outside wall of the Speedway resulting in loss of control and damage to the racecar or its driver. The engineers created a larger footprint of the tire’s contact patch under load at the racing surface with the benefit of additional mechanical grip. They also compounded a different rubber for the Firestone Firehawk that added even more grip on the Speedway’s newly-treated and sealed surface.

The Louis Schwitzer Award given to Firestone is the 53rd such honor bestowed by SAE and Borg Warner. The Award is named for prominent Indianapolis car enthusiast and business owner Louis Schwitzer, whose Schwitzer Corporation specializing in turbochargers and engine cooling systems before merging with Borg Warner in 1999.

Previous winners are a veritable “Who’s Who” of racing greats: Colin Chapman, Bruce McLaren, AJ Foyt, Dan Gurney, and others.

Share Button