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BFGoodrich Tires® Develops Custom Solution for Red Bull® Global Rallycross®

BFGoodrich Tires® announced it became the official tire of the Red Bull Global Rallycross series for 2016 only a few short months ago, and since has worked diligently to create the tire solution for one of the fastest growing and most exciting motorsports series in the world.

BFGoodrich has a rich 45-year history in motorsports ranging from pavement to desert racing, as well as stage rally and rallycross. Between the company’s performance heritage and the resources of its parent company, Groupe Michelin, there is world-renowned engineering experience at work to create the new radial tire solution for the GRC series.

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Photo courtesy Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross

BFGoodrich will bring a new tire named the BFGoodrich g-Force RC02 to the track for the first race weekend to be held at Wildhorse Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz. on May 22-23. The tire will be FIA homologated for rallycross competition and will come in a size equivalent to a street-tire 235/45R17 to fit the series-specified 17×8 wheel as used on the all-wheel-drive production-based racecars. The g-Force™ RC02 will be a custom-made, non-DOT race tire for competition use only.

Red Bull Global Rallycross presents a unique challenge to driver, vehicle, and tire with its sprint race, mixed-surface format.  The RC02 tire will provide all the grip and agility needed for this unique style of racing, which takes the driver from dirt to pavement and from straightaways to tight corners numerous times throughout the race.

“The different surfaces encountered during a race is a significant challenge for the tire,” said Chris Baker, motorsports director for BFGoodrich Tires. “The racers demand tremendous longitudinal grip to launch the high-performance vehicles from a standing start; not too many people know that a state-of-the-art rallycross car is as quick (or quicker) than a modern F1 car from 0 to 60mph! In addition, the tire must also deliver confidence in the corners when the drivers are engaging in door-to-door racing, be it on tarmac or dirt. The tire is truly a hybrid, with a unique construction and compound that appears and performs like a pavement tire, but has loose surface capabilities as well.”

The RC02 tire is derived from prior experience in rallycross, racing with new technology achieved through BFGoodrich’s vast motorsports experience. A previous version of this tire—the RC01—won the 2011 Summer X-Games™ and was the base model for this development, with BFGoodrich engineers improving the grip and warm-up for performance in a variety of conditions.

For the tire to get to the optimal performance conditions in short-duration races with a rapid warm-up and transitional response to a variety of surfaces, BFGoodrich constructed the tire with an internal architectural approach similar to that of the current g-Force R1-S, but with adaptation for the extreme power levels of rallycross cars and with tuning in the crown structure of the tire for delivering appropriate performance on loose surfaces.  The tread compound is also unique and is resistant to loose-soil/gravel aggression while delivering strong “bite” on pavement.  It is a unique development in the BFGoodrich racing product portfolio.

A major step in any race tire development process is testing. BFGoodrich hosted racers at its Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds campus in South Carolina to test the tire at its 3300 acre state-of-the-art facility.

The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team and its drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust took the first laps on the new RC02 tire and were duly impressed. “Running the tire for the first time was great,” said Speed, last year’s Red Bull Global Rallycross champion. “I’ve had experience with the family brand, Michelin, back in Europe and always rated them very highly and what we have for the GRC car is no exception. It was amazing to see a tire with grooves go faster than a slick tire on a track that was 100 percent tarmac. Tanner and I got out of the car for the first time and thought – ‘this can’t be right.’ It blew our minds. It exceeded all our expectations.”

The BFGoodrich g-Force RC02 is manufactured at the Michelin Motorsports factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France and has been developed by BFGoodrich technical teams in both France and the United States.  It is truly a global product.

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Photo courtesy Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross

As with every motorsports discipline, technology transfer is important to BFGoodrich Tires.  The new RC02 will continue the torrid pace of racing-to-street “downstreaming” that has recently been tremendously successful with the All-Terrain T/A KO2 (whose racing “ancestor” is the Baja T/A KR2, developed for use in SCORE International and Best in the Desert desert racing).  Tire design and construction technologies derived from the RC02 will be integrated into development of the future generations of the current g-Force Comp 2 UHP and g-Force Rival extreme performance product offers, along with the successor to today’s wildly successful g-Force Comp 2 A/S tire line.

“Our sport has a real action sport feel to it,’ continued Speed. “We need a tire that can be durable enough to allow us to drive the cars hard and drive them sideways. That is what BFGoodrich has done. They have given us a tire that can withstand that kind of abuse and perform dynamically better on both the tarmac and on dirt. I think the show is going to be that much better this year – pure GRC.”

What continually separates BFGoodrich from other competitors in motorsports is its unparalleled on-site support. Each team is allocated only 12 BFGoodrich g-Force RC02 tires per round for the Supercar Class and 6 tires per round for the Lites class. BFGoodrich’s commitment to support for racers continues in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series as BFGoodrich engineers and a support crew will be on-site to help teams with tire performance, management and usage for the approximately 30 racecars at each event.

The BFGoodrich motorsports history is a rich one dating back over four decades and its record now features no fewer than 200 titles in the various global off-road championships, 27 overall wins in the SCORE Baja 1000, 10 consecutive victories in the FIA All-Terrain Rally World Cup, and 10 consecutive Dakar Rally wins from 2002-2012 and many more. The brand is still a key player in many racing disciplines where it brings tires to take on a wide range of surfaces, including dirt, sand, rock and asphalt; proof of the incredible versatility of BFGoodrich products.

“We are excited to see BFGoodrich involved in our sport. We see it very clearly where we are going. The popularity and the rise of our sport is great. It has a huge following and the right following. And you see who is involved – from the teams and manufacturers. Everyone is coming to play,” added Speed.

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