In the world of cross-country rallying, and especially on the Dakar, tyres face exceptional punishment. As a result, and in addition to being conceived for adventure, their grip and traction performance, steering precision, strength, resistance to wear and clearance capacity on soft ground are all engineered to meet an extremely exacting brief. These criteria are notoriously difficult to improve simultaneously but BFGoodrich® Tires' engineers, who are accustomed to rising to challenges that are even more fearsome than the dunes of the Peruvian desert, have succeeded in taking forward seemingly antagonistic factors like strength and performance at the same time.
The Dakar is clearly a demanding event for drivers and co-drivers, but it is also particularly hard on tyres. To cope with the difficulties inherent in next January’s itinerary which runs from Peru to Argentina, via Bolivia, and which takes in a unique cocktail of staggering scenery and unforgiving terrain, BFGoodrich® Tires go a step further and allow crews to venture where most people would shirk away on four wheels.
To celebrate the event’s 40th-anniversary edition, BFGoodrich® Tires has once again pushed out the boundaries to provide all its partners with a tyre that is capable of coping with all the potentially possible conditions, irrespective of the type of car (two and four-wheel drive) and the driving style. That tyre is the BFGoodrich® Tires All Terrain T/A KDR2+ which incorporates the latest technologies that have been developed by the American off-road specialist with a view to delivering even greater versatility and resistance than its predecessor which, until now, was regarded as the sport’s benchmark. Thanks to data gathered on previous Dakars, as well as on other crosscountry rally events, and thanks also to the close collaboration it enjoys with its partners, BFGoodrich® Tires has succeeded in developing an exceptional new tyre.
“In the minds of drivers, the best tyre is one that enables them to showcase their ability,” says Matt Hanlon, the engineer in charge of the BFGoodrich® Tires' development. “To do this, it must be capable of responding perfectly to input via the steering wheel, as well as to contributing to the optimization of their vehicle’s suspension and, as a result, its road holding. It also needs to perform consistently across a wide range of weather conditions and over a broad spectrum of surface types in order to leave competitors to focus on driving as fast as they can.”
The new BFGoodrich® Tires All Terrain T/A KDR2+ tyre - production of which was completed just days before the brand’s tyres were due for shipment to Peru – was engineered to combine enhanced grip with improved steering response and traction – especially on muddy ground – with no detriment to overall performance. At the same time, it carries over the very best qualities of its predecessor to guarantee optimal efficiency when running on hard-packed or sandy terrain, climbing dunes or driving on aggressive, rocky trails in searing heat (Dakar Rally stages visit altitudes ranging from sea level to more that 4,000 metres!), while being perfectly suited to vehicles with either two- or four-wheel drive transmission. Last but not least, the latest improvements provide added protection against punctures, which is another fundamental factor that can sometimes influence performance on the Dakar.
The tread pattern of the BFGoodrich® Tires All Terrain T/A KDR2+ tyre has been completely redesigned compared with the tyre KDR2 seen in 2017 which was designed for two-wheel drive vehicles. Its grooving is wider, notably along the shoulders for improved performance in mud and on soft ground.
In comparison with the tire BFGoodrich® Tires KDR2 that was available for four-wheel drive vehiclesin 2017, the BFGoodrich® Tires All Terrain T/A KDR2+ tyre stands out through its flatter profile which ensures a bigger contact patch, while its overall diameter has been increased by two millimeters. Above all, though, the new BFGoodrich® Tire All Terrain T/A KDR2+’s tyre construction has been strengthened to cope even more efficiently with aggressive conditions. It is partly thanks to this new construction that enables it to deliver enhanced stability, too.
For each of the sizes in which the BFGoodrich® Tires All Terrain T/A KDR2+ tyre is available (two-wheel drive vehicles: 37/12.5-17 / four-wheel drive: 245/80-16), there is a choice of two compounds: soft (S) and medium (M). This will allow the brand’s partner teams to adapt their respective strategies as a function of the stages’ profiles and the prevailing weather conditions.