A new tyre that gives greater performance and also complies with the latest European environmental regulations will be debuted in the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, it has been confirmed.
The Dunlop Sport Maxx BTCC tyre will first be used in round two of next year's BTCC at Rockingham, from April 24-25 - Dunlop has already announced that starting in 2010 it will become title sponsor to the BTCC, the UK's premier motor racing series, for the next four years.
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. The results followed 18 months of intensive design and materials and construction development at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, UK - home to the company's European Motorsport Operations.
Dunlop 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 successful 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 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 advanced new polymer technology that will be used in Dunlop's ultra-high performance 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 pioneering RFID system was introduced during 2009's BTCC season after a development programme with the championship.