GREENVILLE, S.C., Dec. 20, 2016 ― BFGoodrich Tires ― the official tire of The Dakar Rally ― culminates its year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of its first radial all-terrain tire, which revolutionized the light-truck and off-road industry, with the brand’s return to the 2017 Dakar Rally.
After months of race tire development and testing, BFGoodrich engineers and race teams are making final preparations and staging their vehicles in South America for the 8786 kilometer (5460 mile), 12-stage race. The 39th Dakar Rally begins on Jan. 2, 2017. The race promises to be among the toughest on competitors and vehicles as it weaves through changing terrain and altitude across Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
For the 2017 Dakar Rally, more than 1,200 BFGoodrich tires have been manufactured in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the United States and Clermont-Ferrand, France for the more than 110 competitors it will equip including the Peugeot Sport, X-raid Mini and Toyota Gazoo Racing teams.
BFGoodrich Tires is coming off a successful result at the 2017 SCORE Baja 1000, widely known as one of the toughest off-road races in the world. Drivers on BFGoodrich Tires captured seven of the top 10 overall finishers and the tire brand claimed an unprecedented 14 class wins. A total of nine different BFGoodrich Tires won class titles at the race, including the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KDR2, the tire of choice for many entries in the upcoming 2017 Dakar Rally.
The BFGoodrich tires used for the 2017 Dakar Rally include products designed, raced and tested across the globe. This new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KDR2 tire will be used during Dakar by Peugeot Sport 3008 DKR and Toyota Gazoo Helix while the X-raid Mini team will mount the 16-inch BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR.
These tires embody four decades of research, development and rugged off-road racing experience. Their design, engineering and production continuously occupy teams in both the United States and France, Each tire is treated with the utmost respect ahead of the famous cross-country marathon.
The tire shoulders and side walls are accordingly reinforced by around three kilometres of cables and textile cords. Each tips the scales between 25kg and 32kg, yet are capable of absorbing loads of up to 140 times its own weight. The temperatures reached by their rubber compounds, which incorporates a formula of carefully-selected ingredients to ensure the necessary durability, will frequently exceed 100°C in the course of the two-week event.
In creating this all-new tire BFGoodrich engineers worked closely with many different teams and drivers to help define their performance needs. With the unknown changing conditions of the course at Dakar, the engineers worked to maximize performance with a careful combination of construction for strength, design for maneuverability and compounds for durability. BFGoodrich has proven its expertise in constructing a race tire that will perform in soft soil, scorching sand, hard terrain, grueling rocky conditions and extreme temperature variances.
Testing occurred in Rally Raid races in China and Morocco, as well as in Mexico at the Baja 1000 to arrive at the preferred compound and construction for the widest performance characteristics for teams on BFGoodrich Tires. Over the last several months, these tires have undergone 2,000 kilometres of testing in extreme conditions, taking the impacts and constraints generated by the 2.5-ton Dakar prototypes travelling at speeds of up to 200kph comfortably in their stride.
When the Dakar Rally kicks off in Asunción, Paraguay, BFGoodrich Tires will be back on competitors’ vehicles on a large scale for the first time since 2012. In addition BFGoodrich will roll out the BFGoodrich Dakar Service Center, through which competitors will benefit from the Company’s extensive technical expertise. The rugged terrain and unpredictable elements that racers face over two weeks and more than 5,000 miles of punishing competition across three countries is exactly the sort of proving ground that BFGoodrich seeks.
“Our motorsports philosophy isn’t to sit on the sidelines and remain stagnant,” said Michelin and BFGoodrich Motorsports Director Pascal Couasnon. “Through constant innovation our drivers are provided with the latest performance technology. We take great pride in working directly with our teams and challenge ourselves to develop off-road racing tires that strike the balance between durability and extreme performance. The results suggest that we are giving the other tire brands a run for their money! We are truly excited to showcase and continue testing our products as we return to the Dakar Rally with the BFGoodrich brand.”