The Giants of Motorsports
Race to Road Truck Tyre development
Goodyear has a rich history in motorsport, including iconic victories at Le Mans on top of 368 Formula One wins and a history in the extraordinary world of truck racing. These are great examples of challenging racing conditions that require a tyre that's built to last.
With more than 15 years' of experience in truck racing, Goodyear takes these insights from the track to the road. Ultimate test beds like these allow for further optimisation of durability, as well as the overall performance and efficiency of the Goodyear tyre range for transportation trucks.
The Role Tyres Play in a Championship
As official tyre supplier of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship (ETRC), Goodyear's tyres are put through their paces during a race weekend as 15 race-prepared trucks — based on road-going 4x2 tractor units — roar around Europe's race tracks. These trucks boast massive 1,500-bhp engines with average torque of 5,500 Nm, which can power the trucks from 0-100 kph in five seconds and 30-160 kph in just six seconds.
Without the right tyres, these trucks would never be able to perform in this way. With heavy loads under braking and 0-100 kph times to rival a sports car — but in a full-size truck!— the tyres need to withstand a lot of stress.
The same goes for endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. High-quality tyres contribute to the complex strategy of 24-hour race. Teams need to balance performance alongside fuel saving, meaning the tyres need to find the perfect balance between these two elements.
Formula One strategy is very similar. During its time in Formula One, Goodyear picked up 368 victories — still an unbeaten record today — and contributed to some clever strategy decisions. Again, the balance needs to be found between durability and performance to ensure drivers are able to get as much as possible from their cars while reducing the amount of time spent in the pits.
It's important that the tyres are fit for the job. Not only do they have to withstand the harsh conditions of the racetrack — high-speed kerbstone impacts, high temperatures, heavy braking, and quick acceleration — but they need to both perform and be efficient at the same time. These race tyres also need to work just as well in the wet as they do in the dry, as the ETRC uses the same tyres for both dry and wet conditions.
These challenging race conditions make the perfect test bed for the innovation of new tyre technologies. Not just in terms of how to last longer, go faster, find more grip or save more fuel, but in terms of how to find the best balance and durability for road-going tyres.
Motorsport is exciting but it also provides an important element for the next level of tyres for both commercial and passenger vehicles.
Since 2004, Goodyear has been running a truck racing development programme, in which the specially designed Goodyear Truck Race Tyre became a reality. Since then, these tyres have evolved quite considerately including the introduction of RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) chips in 2011 to support the FIA officials in monitoring teams' tyre use to ensure fair play.
After intensive testing in truck racing, this connected tyre technology was brought into Goodyear's current on-road and mixed-service tyres. The chip in the tyre helps optimise daily fleet operations and tyre maintenance. The chip also provides a unique identification code, enabling tracking and monitoring of the tyre during its entire lifetime through production, regrooving, retreading and recycling.
From Race to Road
With this innovation, the technology that goes into Goodyear's truck racing tyres means that on-road tyres are getting more and more sophisticated and stronger — offering more mileage through extended lifetime. For commercial vehicles, the focus, of course, isn't on short-term performance. What Goodyear learns from its race truck tyres, it implements on the road to create more sustainable and efficient tyres with a low-rolling resistance to improve fuel consumption and wear.
Goodyear's range of tyres for commercial vehicles focus on these core areas:
- Fuel efficiency and sustainability
- Performance and versatility
- All-weather capabilities
- Durability and efficiency
Stay tuned for more news on the 2020 FIA European Truck Racing Championship season.