BFGoodrich Tires: 40 Years of SCORE International Baja Racing
BFGoodrich Tires, the official tire of SCORE International, is proud to mark 40 years of competing in Baja desert racing this year.
What began as an entry for testing purpose in 1976, on an Oldsmobile Starfire with Fritz Kroyer has exploded into one of the great success stories in off-road racing.
Over 40 years, BFGoodrich has 86 overall wins in SCORE Baja racing, more than all other tire manufacturers combined. Those early racing successes also launched a revolutionary new tire category that contributed to the growth of the entire light-truck and four-wheel-drive industry.
Throughout the four decades of racing on the peninsula, BFGoodrich has been committed to supporting the widest range of race classes and thus has had a broad group of tires demonstrate success in desert racing. In fact, more than 20 BFGoodrich Tire designs have won a class in the SCORE Baja 1000 and five different tires, from the original all-terrain tires to purpose-built race tires have won the overall title at the SCORE Baja 1000.
After sweeping the SCORE international season the last two years, BFGoodrich is looking to get back on top and secure its third consecutive Baja 1000 overall win. It would also mark the 28th overall Baja 1000 win for BFGoodrich. BFGoodrich performance team member Rob MacCachren claimed the overall title in 2014 and 2015 and will be seeking his third straight with co-driver Jason Voss. The 49th running of the SCORE Baja 1000 marks the longest desert race of the season and presents an opportunity for BFGoodrich to continue its unmatched success at this race.
The company will showcase a wide variety of tires competing in multiple classes including the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2, the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2, BFGoodrich Baja T/A and BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR and Baja T/A KR2, among additional developmental tires vying for overall and class titles.
Key storylines for BFGoodrich Tires at the SCORE Baja 1000 include:
- BFGoodrich has taken the overall win in 11 of the last 13 SCORE International Desert races. It has also collected 24 of the last 28 major North American desert races, including the Best In The Desert series.
- On the Baja peninsula, BFGoodrich Tires dominates, collecting a total of 86 SCORE overall victories.
- More than 100 race teams have registered for the BFGoodrich Tires race support for this race which includes mapping, tire and fuel work and communications assistance
- Last year, BFGoodrich Tires claimed its 27th overall SCORE Baja 1000 win. Over the past five years, BFGoodrich has been on 42 of the top 50 overall finishers and claimed 58 class titles at this race.
- The BFGoodrich Tires Baja T/A KR2 race tire has 24 overall desert race wins.
- BFGoodrich Tires boasts the most class wins of any tire manufacturer — Nine at the 2016 SCORE Baja 500 and 11 at the 2015 SCORE Baja 1000
- Off road racing success has been a part of the BFGoodrich Tires DNA with nearly 2800 race wins and 440 championships
“We are proud as well as humbled by our forty years of success in Baja desert racing,” said Chris Baker, motorsports director, BFGoodrich Tires. “We were introduced to Baja as a laboratory to test new products by SCORE leadership and it initiated a deep connection between our brand and the people of the Baja peninsula.
“Those early test sessions in this ruggedly-beautiful land created a passion and commitment in our brand for off-road racing and to sit here today, four decades later, with 86 overall wins in Baja is a testament to all the drivers, engineers, and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to being there with us. We will continue to come to Baja to test, to race and to win in an effort to develop the highest performing race tires and off-road tires in the industry.”
To recognize this milestone year, BFGoodrich is expanding its contingency program for the SCORE Baja 1000. The brand will award a $10,000 contingency prize to the overall winners of the race running exclusively on their tires.
Additionally for this race, to recognize the four decades of testing and racing that has helped make BFGoodrich a leader in desert racing and constructing the toughest all-terrain tires on the market, the company has established a program called “40 for 40” for this year’s race.
BFGoodrich will award 40 light truck or passenger car DOT tires (4 tires per winning team) to those racers who claim class wins if running exclusively on BFGoodrich Tires. The program is intended to celebrate the long history of success that the brand has had in Baja racing on a wide variety of tires- from competition only models to consumer available light truck off-road tires.
BFGoodrich Performance Team Baja Challenge Buggy Team
BFGoodrich’s firepower heading into this year’s race, once again, includes two entries in the Baja Challenge (BC) class.
The teams compromise a number of former Baja 1000 class champions. BC1 team includes: Bob Bower; Andrew Comrie-Picard; Brian Finch; Brad Lovell; Kyle Tucker and John Williams. The BC2 team is led by Bill Weber with Lance Clifford; Jay Jakupca; Mike Johnson; Rich Minga and Larry McRae.
Support the Sport
While it has been the official tire of SCORE International’s Baja races and continues to dominate, BFGoodrich Tires’ support and dedication to the race goes far beyond sponsorship and tires. Perhaps more famous than any of BFGoodrich Tires’ partnerships or desert racing technology is the unparalleled support BFGoodrich Tires provides for desert racers. The BFGoodrich Tires pit and radio relay network set up at every SCORE desert race allows numerous teams to participate in desert racing by providing them free logistical support. The only requirement needed to have access to this all-encompassing pit support network is a requirement to run BFGoodrich tires at all SCORE races
BFGoodrich Tires also supports the SCORE series with course mapping assistance and pit support at pit locations along the Baja California racecourse. Drivers depend on the BFGoodrich Tires team to support them and get them to the finish line. The BFGoodrich Tires pits are an indispensable tool as they offer services like fueling, vehicle welding, tire changes, mechanical repair, bottled water and much more. For this year’s race, more than 100 teams have registered to receive support from BFGoodrich Tires.
Four Decades of Heritage in Baja
BFGoodrich engineers traveled to Baja California, Mexico, in 1975 to test a new concept ― a radial light-truck tire for off- and on-road use. They learned quickly that they could use the Baja peninsula as a real-life laboratory to develop tires. If the tires could withstand the grueling terrain of Baja, they could survive almost anywhere else.
A year later, BFGoodrich launched its first radial all-terrain tire, the BFGoodrich Radial All-Terrain T/A, testing the new tire’s durability in the SCORE Baja 1000 desert race. Mounted on an Oldsmobile Starfire, perhaps the most unlikely desert-racing vehicle, the team didn’t win, but it did succeed. The experiment strengthened the brand’s resolve to build and race unmatched light truck tires. Returning the next year, BFGoodrich claimed the first off-road win for a radial all-terrain tire, as Frank “Scoop” Vessels raced his Ford F-100 to class 8 wins at the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 that year.
These keystone moments marked the beginning of what has become a story of unrivaled desert-racing success for a tire company — 86 overall wins in SCORE Baja racing over the next 40 years, more than all other tire manufacturers combined. Those early racing successes also launched a revolutionary new tire category that contributed to the growth of the entire light-truck and four-wheel-drive industry.
Success at the Baja 1000
After a decade of racing in Baja, BFGoodrich broke through for the first time in 1986 when Mark McMillin and Ralph Paxton claimed the overall win at the Baja 1000 in a Chenowth Porsche. They were running the BFGoodrich Radial All-Terrain 2nd Generation tire, which became the first of five different BFGoodrich Tires that have claimed the overall win at the Baja 1000.
That win began an unprecedented and amazing string of 20 consecutive Baja 1000 overall wins for BFGoodrich Tires. The list of champion racers following Mark McMillin’s first win include: Dave Ashley; Doug Fortin; Bob Gordon; Robby Gordon; Troy Herbst; Larry Ragland; Larry Roeseler; Paul and Dave Simon; Dan Smith; Jim Smith; Malcolm Smith; Ivan Stewart and Charlie Townsley.
Since then BFGoodrich has claimed seven of the last nine Baja 1000 overall wins and two in a row. Those who added their names as overall winners on BFGoodrich Tires during that time include: Rob MacCachren; Andy McMillin; Scott McMillin; Mark Post; Roger Norman; Carl Renezeder; Gus and Tavo Vildosola and Jason Voss.
BFGoodrich – The Tire of Choice
BFGoodrich once again boasts the most tire fitments among the four-wheel vehicle classes using specialty race tires like the BFGoodrich Baja T/A,, BFGoodrich Baja T/AKR and BFGoodrich Baja T/AKR2. Beyond these race tires, many race classes depend on the durability and toughness of BFGoodrich street tires to endure the Baja terrain, including the BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/AKM2 and the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2.
BFGoodrich Tires introduced the latest in desert race tire technology in 2013 with the BFGoodrich Tires Baja T/A KR2. Since then, the tire has been adopted by race teams in various classes and has amassed 24 overall desert race wins.
The KR2 tire was originally designed for the Trophy Truck class; however, due to performance demand in other classes, the tire was tuned to provide a solution for several classes.
Follow the Race with SCORE and BFGoodrich
Fans at home can follow the 49th SCORE Baja 1000 firsthand with tracking on http://www.score-international.com. BFGoodrich will continue to update through its social channels at its Facebook page www.facebook.com/bfgoodrichtires and Twitter account www.twitter.com/BFGoodrichTires as well as stories, photos and videos on its racing website at www.bfgoodrichracing.com.