To simulate tire tread friction and wear, a variety of factors have to be taken into account. Among them, the local nonlinear constitutive equation for friction and wear in the contact interface and the related solving strategies, including the wear increment optimization and worn mesh update, are very critical to the predicting methodology. This two-part contribution addresses an integrated approach for friction and wear simulation of tire tread rubber. In Part I, a modified friction test scheme of rubber wheels with the Laboratory Abrasion and Skid Tester (LAT 100) is proposed, along with numerical verification, which greatly improved the distribution uniformities of the contact pressure and sliding velocity. In order to investigate the friction characteristics of tire tread rubber, various contact conditions were conducted, and then a unified friction model was put forward to describe the nonlinear relationship of rubber friction with contact pressure and sliding velocity. Based on the established frictional contact model, the locked traction and cornering rolling were simulated, and the calculated friction forces and lateral forces agree with the experimental results on the whole.