SCORE Journal

SCORE Journal Issue - APRIL 2017

SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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Page 87 of 107

A FIRM GRIP THE LATEST TIRE INNOVATIONS HELP OFF-ROAD RACERS AND ENTHUSIASTS GET IMPROVED TRACTION ON ANY TERRAIN By Dan Sanchez Photos courtesy of the manufacturers There are no burnouts in off-road races, so racers and serious off-road enthusiasts rely on tire technology to get maximum traction, especially in the deserts of Baja. Most would agree that off-road tires are some of the most technologically advanced of any other tire type, as the technology used to gain traction in a variety of types of terrain from loose gravel, to river rock, as well as mud and pavement, is typical of what these tires can do. Add that an off-road tire also has to be puncture resistant, capable of holding up a 6,000-pound vehicle with 900 horsepower, and make it through a 1000-mile race, and it seems like an impossible task for tire engineers to conquer. The facts are, however, off-road racing venues such as SCORE has provided tire manufacturers with the test grounds to build some of the most sophisticated tires on the planet, that continue to push the boundaries of tire technology to new limits. Durability One of the most important factors tire manufacturers first faced in off-road racing is durability. Early tires exploded from heat or were easily punctured when they ran over rocks or hit bushes. Tire engineers improved durability by adding more rubber to the shoulder of the tire and added more sidewall layers to provide adequate protection. New rubber compounds emerged which were infused with silica and other components, to help to reduce, wear and tearing. Manufacturers also strengthened puncture resistance by adding stronger sidewall cords, and more of them. The addition of nylon and steel belts also improved puncture resistance and sidewalls, and improved bead construction helps to keep the tires on the rims, especially when used with lower tire pressures. Tread Traction being the key word in off-road capability is another element that has changed over the years in tire technology, and have become one of the most important elements. To gain the most traction, most off-road tires use an aggressive, block pattern tread. Over the years, however, engineers added capabilities such as mud and rock ejection, higher strength rubber compounds to resist tears and chipping, and have also improved on-highway stability and noise reduction. Many tire manufacturers now use computer-aided tread designs that have significantly aided in all of these areas as well as adding additional tread onto the leading edges of the tire’s sidewall for additional traction in rocks, mud, and deep sand. Sizes One of the first things racers and enthusiasts notice are the addition of more tire sizes. This is usually done to accommodate changes in wheel diameters, but for serious off-road use, it’s now common to optimize tire construction and size for specific race vehicles. Trophy Trucks for example now utilize a 40-inch diameter tire, which provides an optimum amount of tire flotation for the vehicle’s weight and to maximize traction with high-horsepower engines. Some examples come from extensive testing from which most Class 1 vehicles use a 37-inch diameter tire, while a 35-inch diameter tires are, so far, proving to be optimum in Class 10 vehicles. Most recently UTVs have switched to using a 30-inch diameter tire that has shown to improve traction and longevity on these vehicles, especially on Baja terrain. Another important factor to tire sizes and the overall construction is how well they provide feedback to the driver. Larger diameter tires are often blamed for slow steering response on lifted trucks, but racing tires are designed to provide improved “feel” and feedback to the driver, even on 40-inch Trophy Truck tires. Improved handling and tire feedback on modern racing tires, help drivers react through tough terrain and allow them to know what the vehicle and the suspension system are doing on the course. While these tire features may change over time, especially as vehicle performance and suspension systems improve, it’s certain that the technology used will improve to allow race vehicles to drive faster and handle difficult terrain with ease. The great news is that much of this technology, most of which has been learned from racing within SCORE, trickles down to off-road enthusiast products. This gives modern trucks and SUVs, greater performance in a variety of terrain with less road noise and improved wet and snow traction. Some of the current and latest off-road tires ranging from all-terrain, mud-terrain, and full racing products are showcased here. SJ BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR3 & KR3-S Designed for unlimited class desert racing vehicles, the BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR3 improves steering response and transitional handling. Built upon the Baja T/A KR2 tire, the KR3 evolves into a 40×12.5R17-inch radial race tire that features tough sidewalls and an aggressive tread pattern. The Baja T/A KR3-S is a softer compound version that is available for qualifying events such as those now being used in SCORE races. The KR3 was tested during the 2015 Baja 1000 and early season 2016 desert races and demonstrated that the 40-inch KR3 offers greater progressive traction and more predictable lateral grip along with a slightly lighter weight than the KR2. It has already gained success with a win at the 2016 SCORE Baja 1000 with Rob MacCachren and Jason Voss. Baja T/A KO2 The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 is derived from the company’s championship off-road motorsports racing technology. The tire delivers exceptional off-road capabilities that incorporate improved tread life and traction for traversing the harsh conditions such as gravel, dirt, rock, mud and snow. The KO2 provides off-road enthusiasts with the confidence to take on the toughest challenges for work or play. The KO2 is an all-season tire that carries the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol, indicating that it exceeds the Rubber Manufacturer Association’s severe snow traction requirements. Baja T/A KR2 Trophy Truck Race The BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 is designed, engineered, and made in America for unlimited race vehicles and has earned more race wins than any other tire in off-road racing history. The 39x13.5x17-inch Baja T/A KR2 is specifically designed for Trophy Trucks, and Trophy Truck Spec classes, providing these vehicles with a race-proven design that features an aggressive tread pattern, as well as a high-profile and sidewall design that improves traction, steering response, and overall performance on these vehicles. Baja T/A KR2 Buggy Race The BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 was originally designed for the Trophy Truck class but has become so renowned that it has been developed, with subtle adjustments, for several buggy classes. Featuring a strengthened internal structure and new sidewall protection called CoreGard™. The 35x10.5x15-inch Baja T/A KR2 is specifically designed for Class 10 vehicles, while 37x12.5x15-inch Baja T/A KR2 offers improved race performance on Class 1 vehicles. Baja T/A® KR2 UTV Engineered with race-proven CoreGard™ technology, the BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2 UTV is the first UTV- specific radial tire produced by BFGoodrich. It is designed for the performance demands of today’s UTV side-by-sides, offering superior performance and increased mobility in soft soils. It also gives these vehicles enhanced traction in mud and improved braking in loose and rocky soil. In 2016, Alonso Lopez brought home the SCORE Naturally Aspirated points championship on the KR2-UTV tire. Direct Racer Link: Racers can get more information and direct race inquiries into BFGoodrich off-road racing tires by contacting: Jackson Motorsports Group TRI-ACE MARK MA DAKAR M/T III "Signature Series" The Dakar M/T is designed for pickups, SUV's and 4x4 lifted trucks driven by today's off-road enthusiasts who require extra ground clearance, load capacity, and great performance on or off-road. The tire can also provide success in off-road competition and is used widely by many SCORE competitors. Combining a three-ply casing with a nano-scale high wear resistant structure that provides excellent wear and strength characteristics, The Dakar M/T is an aggressive tire that offers traction in a variety of conditions. The Dakar M/T is currently available in 35-inch diameter sizes for wheel diameters up to 28-inches. MARK MA DAKAR RALLY "Signature Series" The Dakar Rally, redesigned by "Super Rickie" Gaunt of Gaunt Motorsports, has had immediate success proving it can meet the requirements of off-road racing in the Southwest and the unpredictable Baja terrain. With a modified tread pattern specially designed for desert rally races that help enhance tire traction, the optimized aramid and steel construction of the tire improves durability and puncture resistance, making the off-road experience more interesting and exciting. The Mark MA Dakar Rally is currently offered in two sizes for 17-inch wheels and will soon have three sizes in that wheel diameter, and two additional sizes for 15-inch wheels. Mickey Thompson Tires Mini Mag Mickey Thompson’s Mini Mag™ off-road tires are specially designed for desert racing. Featuring a tough, bias-belted construction, tubeless, non-directional design, and an anti-cut compound, these tires provide the superior strength and impact resistance desert buggies rely on. Available in 15-inch wheel fitment with a 5.20-inch tread width, Mickey Thompson’s Mini Mag tires are built to handle the toughest off-road conditions on the planet. Deegan 38 Mickey Thompson’s Deegan 38 tire offers rugged-looks, lasting tread life, and versatility for today’s demanding off-road performance enthusiast. This mud terrain tire’s tread consists of Mickey Thompson’s proven compound and other design elements to handle water, mud and rocky terrains. The center tread elements deliver better grip, even wear, and a quieter ride. The tire’s stone ejector ribs resist dirt and mud giving the vehicle better traction in this terrain. Along the shoulder, Mickey Thompson’s SideBiters® and unique shoulder scallops guide mud and loose soil away from the tread. The enhanced sidewall features high tensile body ply cord for increased sidewall integrity and reduced rolling resistance. The full line now includes 17 popular sizes. Deegan 38 All-Terrain Mickey Thompson’s new Deegan 38 All-Terrain tire features aggressive styling and responsive handling. The tire is available in 33 sizes within 15- to 22-inch diameter wheel ranges for light truck, SUV, and 4x4 applications. The tread design of the Deegan 38 All-Terrain incorporates a silica-reinforced compound, special siping for increased traction, superior cut- and chip-resistance, and excellent handling and braking in wet and off-road conditions. Tread-edge chamfers and variable draft angles resist stone retention, while tread element tie-bars enhance stability and responsiveness on changing road conditions. Angled shoulder scallops and an aggressive two-pitch SideBiters improve traction capabilities. MTZ p3 Mickey Thompson’s Baja MTZp3 tires feature a unique silica-reinforced tread compound for longer wear and superior cut and chip resistance. The sidewall is reinforced with Mickey Thompson’s PowerPly™ technology along with decoupling grooves for reliable off-road performance and reduced heat buildup. The proprietary four-pitch SideBiters® tackle irregular terrain with confidence and aggressive style. They are available in 27 sizes for today’s popular trucks, SUVs and 4x4’s, including five new taller and wider sizes. ATZp3 Mickey Thompson’s popular all-terrain Baja ATZp3 tire line is specially designed with the company’s PowerPly™ three-ply sidewall construction, beefy tread blocks, and an extra-wide footprint, making this tire a great choice for off-road use and a smooth ride on the street. The Baja ATZp3 provides excellent traction both on and off the road, and it’s great in the mud and snow. The unique stone ejector ribs resist stones and cracking, and the three-ply sidewalls are super tough and puncture resistant. The Baja ATZp3 also features a cut and chip resistant compound and is available in 27 popular sizes. Baja Pro Mickey Thompson Baja Pro™ off-road tires are perfect for use in desert buggies. Specially designed for off-road racing, these tires have superior strength and impact resistance thanks to a tough bias belted construction and anti-cut compound. The Baja Pro line from Mickey Thompson features polyester/nylon construction and a non-directional tread pattern. Toyo Open Country M/T®-R Designed for off-road racing, the Open Country M/T-R provides off-road racers maximum traction and durability. Winner of both the SCORE Baja 500 and SCORE Baja 1000 races, the Toyo Open Country M/T-R has a winning record with multiple SCORE-International Off-Road Racing Championships. The Open Country M/T-R boasts the same “Attack” tread design as the standard, off-the-shelf Open Country M/T. Its hooked-shaped center blocks deliver maximum traction in sand and rocks. The aggressive tread also wraps onto the side wall to provide traction in deep sand while resisting cuts. Open Country M/T The Open Country M/T is designed to help full-sized pickups work hard on pavement, then work just as hard when roads are muddy, snowy, and rocky—or when there are no roads at all. The Open Country M/T combines solid on-road performance with extra ground clearance, higher load-carrying capacity, and greater ability to go off-road. Truck enthusiasts know it for its long wear, low noise, and aggressive tread pattern. Open Country F-Load Range Toyo’s Open Country F-load range tires are the company’s new, higher capacity tires that were developed to meet the needs of late model truck owners that haul heavier loads, such as off-road racing chase trucks. F-load range tires allow for higher carrying capacity at a higher inflation pressure compared to tires of the same size with an E-load range. These new tires address the increase in payload and towing capacity of today’s trucks, giving owners the freedom to personalize the look and style of their vehicles with a tire that is properly load rated. Available in the Open Country M/T®; Open Country R/T; and Open Country A/T II tires, the F-Load tire sizes include 35x12.50R20LT, 33X12.50R18LT, and 37X12.50R22LT. Yokohama GEOLANDAR A/T G015 Yokohama’s GEOLANDAR® all-terrain tire is designed for durability and off-road toughness. Specifically engineered for trucks and SUVs, the GEOLANDAR A/T G015™ can handle all types of terrain and improve traction on any surface in any weather condition, including snow. The G015 meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association’s severe snow service criterion and is stamped with the mountain/snowflake symbol. GEOLANDAR M/T+ Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the Yokohama GEOLANDAR M/T+® and its aggressive design that is built to conquer a variety of terrain. The GEOLANDAR M/T+® is a mud-terrain tire that provides unprecedented grip and incredible strength that is also Baja-proven and features a progressive power shoulder with V-shaped scoops for improved grip and traction. The tire also features twin-cut grooves for increased traction in dirt, rain, snow and ice; and sidewall protectors that resist side punctures. Falken Tire WILDPEAK A/T3W The WILDPEAK A/T3W is Falken’s all-terrain tire that’s designed for all-weather conditions. The A/T3W combines aggressive off-road capability and rugged terrain driving without compromising a smooth ride on the pavement. The silica tread compound, full-depth sipes, and overall design allows the A/T3W to excel in wear, winter weather, and wet performance. The A/T3W qualifies for the Rubber Manufacturers Association for the Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake symbol, giving it optimum performance in severe snow conditions. WILDPEAK M/T3W Designed to handle the harshest terrain, the Falken WILDPEAK M/T3W features the company’s proprietary three-ply DURASPEC™ Sidewall Technology that was developed to sustain punishing off-road conditions. The tire also features two high ply turn-ups that provide added protection and durability. The aggressive upper sidewall gives additional traction with lower tire pressures and although it's built for off-road, the tire was designed to provide exceptional pavement manners. Falken Tire Tensor Tire Tensor Desert Series The Tensor DS was developed strictly for UTV off-road competition use (not DOT approved). With a softer compound, the DS offers superior performance under race conditions, and is available in a 32x10x15-inch size with the lowest weight of any race tire on the market at 34.5 lbs. With the improved compound and a 1600 lb. load rating, the DS gives racers the ultimate balance between durability and performance. Ribbed shoulders offer extra protection in a puncture-prone area of the tire and is proudly made in the U.S.A. Tensor Tire Tensor Regulator A/T The all-new Tensor Regulator A/T is a DOT Approved dual steel-belted UTV tire with 8-ply construction and a two-ply polyester sidewall to protect them from punctures and increase the load bearing capacity. The Regulator was derived from light truck tire design and features an improved tread compound and wide footprint. In doing so, tread life is enhanced along with braking performance in dry or wet conditions. Tread on the Regulator is deep and aggressive allowing the tire to truly be at home on all terrain including sand, rocks, and flat roads. A variable pitch tread design provides a smooth and quiet ride on flat access roads and pavement. Pro Comp Tires Pro Comp A/T Sport Pro Comp’s new A/T Sport is designed for a wide variety of terrain. Whether you are trying to navigate to that killer kayaking spot, seeking to make the first tracks on a fresh powder day, or just want to get away from civilization, Pro Comp’s new A/T Sport is the tire to get you to your next adventure. The A/T Sport is capable in any terrain while maintaining quiet on-road manners and backed with a 60-day trial and 60,000 mile warranty. Pro Comp Tires Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 The Pro Comp Xtreme MT2 radial is designed for full-size trucks, Jeeps and SUVs that see a combination of on- and off-road use. No matter if it’s hauling heavy loads or exploring rugged terrain, the Xtreme MT2 delivers the toughness and traction needed to get the job done. The aggressive open tread design was optimized using computer modeling to deliver unsurpassed grip and control without excessive noise. Pro Comp Xtreme Trax Designed specifically for today’s high performance side-by-side UTV's, the Pro Comp Xtreme Trax tire features hardcore styling. At the heart of the tire's design is a cutting edge directional tread pattern which is optimized to deliver superior traction and control. The Xtreme Trax also features aggressive shoulder lugs that enhance off-road traction and provide the ultimate protection for the sidewall and rim. SOURCES BFGoodrich Jackson Motorsports Group BFGoodrich Race Tires Falken Tire Mickey Thompson Tires Pro Comp Tires Tensor Tire Tri-Ace Toyo Yokohama

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