Dunlop Introducing Faster, 'Greener' BTCC Tyre
Following a year and a half of design and materials and construction development at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, home to the company’s European Motorsport Operations, Dunlop is ready to debut a new tyre in next year’s British Touring Car Championship – a tyre said to provide greater performance while complying with latest European environmental regulations. The Sport Maxx BTCC will first be used in round two of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham, Northamptonshire on April 25 and 25. Meanwhile, recent tests of the new tyre at Snetterton in Norfolk showed it to be faster over a full race distance and also more durable than its predecessor.
Dunlop states it chose Snetterton for the first test as the circuit has demanding high-speed corners with abrasive kerbs and challenging bumps. The circuit is renowned as being a tough test for car, driver and tyre. Among the top names to participate in the test was Team Aon Ford Focus ST driver Tom Chilton who commented: “I only had two-tenths of a second variation between my fastest and slowest laps over a full race distance of 18 laps. This is a very good tyre.”
The Sport Maxx BTCC tyre incorporates lessons learned from Dunlop’s Le Mans racing activities. Dunlop won the GT2 Le Mans Endurance Championship with Ferrari in 2007 and 2008 and is also a development partner to BMW in the GT2 competition. This programme has given Dunlop an opportunity to test new materials and design concepts to incorporate into the new tyre. Indeed, the Sport Maxx BTCC tyre features a new design of aramid overlay in its construction and also introduces new polymer technology that will be used in Dunlop’s UHP Sport Maxx road tyre projects. In addition (and along with all Dunlop tyres), it uses a new low polycyclic aromatic material in its construction, ensuring early compliance with European Union 2010 regulations on the use of aromatic oils in tyre construction.
Furthermore, a miniature Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag is embedded inside every Sport Maxx BTCC tyre. The tag – just one centimetre in length – enables BTCC officials to track every tyre from production and allocation to each team right back to their return to Dunlop for recycling. The RFID system was introduced during 2009’s BTCC season after a development programme with the championship.