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March 2, 2007
The g-Force R1 radial is BFGoodrich Tire's Racetrack & Autocross Only racing tire developed for drivers looking for race- and time attack-winning performance, as well as track-day drivers seeking predictable grip that is comfortable to drive at the limit. The g-Force R1 radial is designed to offer best in class dry grip, cornering power, steering response and turn-in precision to inspire driver confidence for the quickest times lap after lap.
The Tire Rack Team doesn't normally evaluate Racetrack & Autocross Only racing tires because we don't have appropriately prepared vehicles in our test fleet, and while our test track does a good job of representing conventional roads to challenge a tire's traction and handling, it doesn't have the sustained high speeds and the longer, larger radius corners normally associated with road racing circuits. Additionally, BFGoodrich's wintertime introduction of the g-Force R1 radial and the cold ambient temperatures in South Bend would prevent us from conducting a timely Performance Test Track Drive anyway.
In order to overcome these obstacles, BFGoodrich invited several members of The Tire Rack Team to a g-Force R1 introductory track drive on the 1.4-kilometer (.86-mile) road course at the Michelin Americas Research and Development Corporation's Laurens Proving Grounds in South Carolina. The road course's nine turns, elevation changes and dry asphalt, along with 72-74°F warmth and sunshine, would allow the drivers to experience the tire's capabilities in typical track and weather conditions.
BFGoodrich provided Acura RSX Type-S and Ford Mustang GT test vehicles equipped with safety modifications including racing seats, 5-point harnesses and roll bars. Not intended to represent any specific class of competition, the test vehicles' level of brake and suspension modifications focused on increasing vehicle drivability, consistency and durability. Like many track-day cars, they were prepared beyond allowed showroom stock adjustments but did not approach improved touring class modifications.
The Acura RSX Type-S was used to represent front-wheel drive cars on tires carrying typical loads and the Ford Mustang GT was used to represent rear-wheel drive cars on more heavily loaded tires. Both test cars were equipped with P225/40R18 sized radials mounted on 8-inch wide alloy wheels.
The g-Force R1 radials were ordered from BFGoodrich's distribution center and compared to Hoosier Racing R6 Sports Car D.O.T. Radial tires that BFGoodrich ordered from The Tire Rack. Tread shaving wasn't required because both tires are molded with approximately 4/32" of original tread depth. None of the tires were heat cycled before the test and, in order to emulate typical track sessions, multiple lap stints were driven to bring tires up to temperature and then challenge the tires' consistency as they ran successive laps.
While the Hoosier R6 tires provided the expected responsiveness and grip, the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 radials provided quicker response and higher levels of grip, as well as more consistency lap after lap. Additionally, the g-Force R1 radials were more responsive to begin with, as they immediately began to carve through the transitions of the left-right-left s-turn and into the steady-state corners. This combination of characteristics allowed the drivers to run the g-Force R1 radials with greater confidence, reduced the variations in lap times and resulted in lap times that averaged just over one second faster than the Hoosier R6 tires on the approximate 45-second, nine-turn course. While the number of laps run didn't wear out any of the tires, the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 radials appeared to have less treadwear as well.
Obviously our introductory experience didn't allow us to explore every combination of vehicle preparation, suspension adjustment or inflation pressure, however it did show that the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 radials combine the predictability and consistency under these circumstances that's ideal for beginning drivers, as well as the responsiveness and speed desired by experienced racers. We consider the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 radials to be worthy of consideration for every driver participating in track day, time attack and racing events.