Japanese manufacturer Bridgestone is the world’s biggest manufacturer of tyres. Founded in Fukoka, the global giant came from humble beginnings when Shojiro Ishibashi took over his family’s clothing business in 1906 and put his efforts into making ‘Jika-tabi’ – socks with rubber soles. Realising there was more money to be made in cars, the first Bridgestone tyre was manufactured in 1930. Since then, the company has sold millions of tyres all over the world and enjoyed significant success in motorsport too.
Nowadays, the company produces a range of tyres for cars, 4x4s and vans. From its high-performance Potenza range to the Blizzak range of winter tyres, it’s likely whatever car you drive there’s a Bridgestone tyre for you. The company pioneered run-flat tyres, which are fitted as standard by several manufacturers including Mini, BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Bridgestone introduced its run-flat technology as far back as 1987, with a specific version for the Porsche 959 supercar.
The Japanese manufacturer is the second-most successful F1 tyre supplier behind Goodyear, and has also had significant success in endurance racing, with motorsports pedigree trickling down into its roadgoing range. Bridgestone also owns the American tyre company Firestone, and it also produces golf equipment: its golf balls are best-sellers in Japan.