There are those drivers who rarely think about their tires. Unless they have a flat, those folk might occasionally look for Lincoln’s head in the Penny Test or drop 50 cents at a gas station to top off their PSI. But their tires are an afterthought.
Then again, there are those drivers who put as much passionate thought into their road rubber as a fashion model puts into her shoe collection. Their tires become a conduit for expressing their love for driving and cars – an interpreter between them and the pavement.
For those true tread believers, BF Goodrich introduced the gForce Rival extreme performance tire. The manufacturer introduced the new product to continue its targeting of enthusiasts who seek tires for rallying or track day driving that will hold up on the drive home.
To highlight the capabilities of their latest designs, BF Goodrich gathered automotive journalists in New Orleans at one of the Crescent City’s newest and most popular attractions, the NOLA Motorsports Park. There, reporters could try the gForce Rival during track driving and both short and long course rallying – while testing alternative brands in the same cars on the same tracks.
The introduction of the Rival follows on last year’s debut of the g-Force Sport Comp-2 ultra-high performance street tire. While that model last year was aimed primarily at high performance cars in street mode, the g-Force Rival was designed for what BF Goodrich calls “track level abuse.”
To combine track ability with street driving capability, the tire maker built in a Performance Racing Core with a reinforced internal structure to sidewall flex for faster steering response.
The tires aspired to the highest level of dry grip with an asymmetric tread and large, solid blocks on the outside shoulder to optimize cornering grip. Mixed with its Extreme Tread Edge that brings tread compound farther down the shoulder of the tire, the combined grip patterns reach down around the edge and contact patch of the tire to grab the pavement during turns that strain the shape of the rubber.
In addition to increasing grip, BF Goodrich wants the Rival to hold up longer than the competition in high-wear conditions. A silica-infused competition looks to provide more consistency lap to lap.
All of that fancy engineering talk doesn’t amount to much unless the tire performs in motion. The NOLA Motorsports Park provides ample space for multiple tests. BF Goodrich had racing spec Mustangs roaring on the road circuit, BMW M3s and Subaru STIs on the rally courses and Mazda MX-5s from their own Playboy racing tour.
On each track, the same spec cars were fitted with the Rivals and their rivals – including Hankooks, Yokohama and others. Journalists were asked to drive the track in the BF Goodrich-equipped cars first – before immediately jumping into am identical, but competitor-wearing car for the next lap.
In each test, the gForce Rival’s simply provided more confidence – allowing drivers to get a better feel for the individual car’s abilities. That same confidence also allows for more fun – as the willingness to push a performance car closer to its limits sits in the belly easier if the man or woman behind the wheel knows the rubber beneath can take the pushing.
That’s a fancy – and inadvertently R-rated – way of saying the BF Goodrich got the mix of materials and design right with their new tire – whether a driver is turning hot laps or heading home.