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."
Quotes from BFGoodrich supported teams:
Peugeot Sport 3008 DKR team:
The BFGoodrich-equipped Peugeot 3008 DKRs that Team Peugeot Total will run on the 2017 Dakar took almost a year to design. Olivier Jansonnie, Dakar Project Manager at Peugeot Sport: "The 2017 Dakar project began during the 2016 event when we started to lay down the initial plans for the Peugeot 3008 DKR. It was a year-long operation.
"The chassis and suspension have also been modified, including a new front-end arrangement developed in conjunction with engineers from BFGoodrich® to make sure that the car/tyres package works as efficiently as possible."
MINI X-raid team:
The X-raid Mini team will run the 16 inch BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR on its entry. "Dakar is a really long race with very long stages so we need tires with strong compounds which works in very different kind of conditions. In the same stage we can be in a soft sand for a while and then in really hard rocky surface. The tires need to face the extreme and I think that the BF Goodrich compounds are doing it very well." said driver Mikko Hirvonen.
"The high altitude is another difficulty that we will have to manage a lot this year. During my first Dakar, I was surprised that the tire pressure was not getting high as it normally does when you drive. The consequence was that we reached a really low tire pressure at the end of one stage and we were close to a puncture. This is something that we have learned and we will have to take it in consideration to not make the same mistake this year. I know that the BF Goodrich technicians will be here to give us the best advices all along the race and this is really important, as well, for us."
BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR2: A uniquely constructed race tire specifically created for cross-country rally racing. Sharing similar characteristics with the BFGoodrich® Baja T/A® KR2, this tire is designed to be lighter and sports a new tread pattern. The tire is tuned for the increased handling demands of lighter-weight, two-wheel drive vehicles bringing excellent lateral grip and stability under braking.
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain KDR2 (37x12.5R-17) was developed with the Peugeot Sport factory teams and will be used on the 3008 DKRs of Sebastien Loeb, Cyril Despres, Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel.
BFGoodrich® All-Terrain T/A KDR: Similar to the KDR2, this tire delivers grip on all types of terrain, along with driving comfort and greater braking stability. The tire is designed to withstand the extra sidewall abuse found specifically with four-wheel-drive vehicles, while at the same time ensuring the necessary traction to avoid getting stuck in soft sand. This has been achieved thanks to a strong, but flexible casing that is capable of running at speed with low air pressures, yet still delivers optimal traction.
The BFGoodrich® All-Terrain KDR (245/80R16) was also developed to withstand damage to side walls. It will equip four-wheel drive vehicles such as those fielded by Toyota Hilux with Nasser Al Attiyah, Leeroy Poulter and Giniel de Villiers, and Mini X-raid for drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Nani Roma.
BFGoodrich® Baja T/A KR2: The tire that has dominated Baja deserts also helps racers in the two-wheel-drive buggies at Dakar. Its tread is designed to deliver maximum traction on soft ground, extreme protection against sidewall damage and balanced braking and cornering performance.
The BFGoodrich® Baja T/A KR2 (37/12.5-17) is a particularly versatile solution available for the unique characteristics of buggies.
BFGoodrich Dakar Service Center
As a continued commitment to supporting racers, the BFGoodrich Dakar Service Center will provide services for all competitors throughout The Dakar Rally. As official supplier to the 2017 Dakar, the BFGoodrich Dakar Service Center is operational daily from 3pm to 11pm so that competitors can benefit from the brand's expertise, advice and backup at every bivouac. The facility is erected every morning at 10am and dismantled after the evening's work is completed; before BFGoodrich' s technical staff and experts set off for the following bivouac. The facility offers tire fitting and repairs, welding, vehicle and equipment maintenance and expert tire advice. More than 3,000 tire fitting and removal operations will be carried out during the course of the 2017 Dakar.
The Dakar Rally may be the world's most grueling innovation lab, but BFGoodrich Tires races to win, not just to learn. With the first class victory occurring in the Paris-to-Dakar in 1993. BFGoodrich then followed with a dozen overall Dakar victories, including 10 straight wins from 2002 to 2012.
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