Well we spent the better part of our trip to NOLA Motorsports Park actually getting behind the wheel of four different vehicles, in four different situations. Everything from an MX-5 on the skidpad to a Ford Mustang FR500S on a 2.7 mile road course was in our lineup for the day.
First, some details on the new tire itself.
• Razor-sharp reflexes - The Performance Racing Core™ (PRC) is used to provide a reinforced internal structure and reduce sidewall flex for instant steering response.
• Designed to stick - An asymmetrical tread pattern with a large, solid tread blocks on the outside shoulder optimizes cornering grip.
• Raise the limit - The extreme Tread Edge™ (ETE) design brings tread compound farther down the shoulder for increased grip in hard cornering and predictable feedback.
• Consistent grip lap after lap — Silica-infused competition compound is used to deliver better grip from start to finish.
It will first be available in 15 sizes all with a UTQG of 200 AA A.
Here's a rundown of what I felt.
The first thing we did was a skidpad in a Mazda MX-5 testing the difference between the BFG family of performance tires, the Comp-2, the Rival, and the R1-s.
There was a small hump right in the center of the skid pad so you got a feel for unsettling the car and how easy it would be to bring back in. What surprised me here was how well the Rival fits right in the middle of BFG's lineup or performance tires. Average numbers were just shy of 1.0g for the g-Force Sport COMP 2, 1.1g for the g-Force Rival, and nearly 1.2g for the g-Force R1-S. Not a bad first impression to make on a day full of driving.
Next we headed over to a small autocross course in the new Subaru Impreza STi.
We made two runs on the Rival, followed by two on the Toyo R1R, two on a Hankook RS3, then one final lap back on the Rival. The huge thing here was the difference in tread wear!
Not only did the Rival wear better, MUCH better, it handled the course better as well. The turn in response was very crisp and immediate. The transitions on the other 2 tires almost felt like you were waiting for the tires to catch up with your inputs. On the STi on this course the Rival was much more predictable, consistent, easier to push to the limit and again, wore much better then it's competitors.
After we finished lunch we headed to the road course and met up with the Mustang FR500S. We took the Rival out for two hot laps followed by two on the Falken RK615.
This is where the tread compound on the sidewall really fills you with confidence. While both tires did well with the steady state cornering, the Rival felt like it could always take more whereas the Falken was right at its limit. Now not knowing the track or the cars that well I know I wasn't even close to the limit, but even I could tell a big difference between the two. The big thing that was easy to notice was under braking, the RK615 felt less stable. You had to apply the brakes sooner into a turn otherwise it felt like the back end wanted to get a little loose.
Finally we went to a high speed autocross course to drive some E46 BMW M3's and compared the Rival to the Hankook RS3.
Again, the big thing you notice here is tread wear and quick response time of the Rival. It didn't feel like you had to "push" the Rival to get good times, and while we didn't take lap times, it sure felt like I was working much harder to get the most out of the RS3's then the new Rival.
Overall I felt more confidant and faster when driving the new BFGoodrich g-Force Rival. When you combine that with what seems like a longer tread life, this will be a great addition to the Extreme Performance Summer category. We will be running our own test here in last spring/early summer, so when I know more, I'll be sure to share it.