I’ve tested a number of tires from a variety of tire manufacturers during product launches. Not once have I ever heard a tire manufacturer tell a group of, by no means professional, drivers “Don’t wussy foot it” (edited).
Matt and I, a couple of automotive enthusiasts from Discount Tire, had the chance to attend the BFG g-Force Sport Comp-2 product launch at Fontana Raceway in California a few weeks ago. We knew very little about the new tire and very little about what BFG had planned for the launch. We were told that as long as we could get the all clear to attend from home base (Corporate) everything else would be taken care of. How could we pass that up?
So away we went, we landed in Ontario, CA mid afternoon on Tuesday Jan. 31st and were out on the track the following morning by 9am. BFGoodrich had a team of engineers, some marketing and support staff and a grip of their test/pro drivers out for the day. We started the morning off with a presentation describing the new BFG g-Force Sport Comp-2. They described its improvements over the original g-Force Sport and talked about where it sits now compared to similar tires in the Ultra High Performance Category (UHP). We then split into groups and rotated through 4 different test stations, the 0-60-0 test, a high speed road course, a short course dry autoX track and a short course wet autoX track.
At first glance the new BFG g-Force Sport Comp-2 doesn’t look much different than the g-Force Sport it’s replacing. The tread design looks almost identical but the sidewall is a little cleaner and smoothed out. So what’s new? To really see it, you’ve got to drive it.
With improvements from the inside out, BFG claims their new Comp-2 yields an 8% gain in dry traction, and an astonishing 30% gain in wet traction over the g-Force Sport. To put that into perspective, a 3% improvement would be easy for a pro driver to notice, an 8% improvement would be noticeable by most enthusiast drivers and a 12% difference would be noticeable by almost all levels of drivers. Needless to say, with BFG’s claims, Matt and I were excited to feel the improvements first hand.
Our group first headed over to put the ABS to work on a new 2012 Challenger SRT8. Our group’s 0-60-0 test yielded stopping distances that averaged 9 feet shorter than the competitor’s tire on the dry track. This could very easily mean the difference between getting in an accident and avoiding an accident.
Next up, the high speed road course! We reached speeds exceeding 90mph in a 2012 Camaro SS. The Comp-2 did an excellent job of holding our line. Big sweeping corners and fast straight-aways allowed us to feel the Comp-2‘s internal construction help to balance the vehicle while keeping the tread planted on the track. BFG has made changes to the carcass of the new Comp-2 to specifically improve its high speed performance. They didn’t tell us exactly how they did it but they described the improvements as a type of internal tension system that helps keep the contact patch optimized at high speed. With these improvements, the Comp-2 seemingly begs you to push it harder and faster. This is something that many of us, as enthusiasts, can’t live without.
After a quick lunch break Matt and I couldn’t wait to get back out on the track. We made our way over to the dry autoX track and found ourselves whipping around the tight corners in a 2012 AWD Subaru WRX STI and a 2012 RWD Challenger SRT8. These two vehicles are drastically different in balance, weight and size. This was a great opportunity for us to feel how the Comp-2’s sidewall reacted and responded under very different vehicles.
First up was the WRX STI. Driving the WRX STI is like driving an AWD go cart with a lot more power and a much more sophisticated suspension. The vehicle’s balance is excellent and it handles like a well fit baseball glove. With the Comp-2 installed the WRX stuck to the pavement hard and the response was so quick that I often found myself needing to wait longer than I expected before I initiated a turn. Upon exiting a turn the tire’s sidewall quickly snapped back, waiting for the next corner to come.
Then the Challenger…. The beasty Challenger is not quite as spry as the WRX but modern muscle cars have come a long way in the handling department. Even with a bit more weight, RWD and a 470HP V8 under the hood the Comp-2 held strong and responded quicker in the corners than I anticipated. Along with the contact patch advancements BFG has also improved the stiffness of the Comp-2’s sidewall by up to 40% over the g-Force Sport. This is a big plus for you performance minded drivers out there. Having a tire that will react faster gives you more time to think about setting up for the next corner and ultimately helps you get to the finish line sooner.
Our last test of the day led us to a freshly drenched, wet autoX track and a FWD 2012 Volkswagen Golf GTI. BFG claimed that we would see up to 30% improvements in wet traction, this obviously created a bit of skepticism. A 30% gain in anything is a huge claim.
With the track holding plenty of puddles we eagerly pushed the Comp-2 hard to find its wet traction limits. The tire had great grip off the start. The tread cut through the standing water without breaking traction. Once comfortable with the track I pushed the tire extra hard in the corners and found, to my surprise, the Comp-2 held strong and continued to give me almost all of the same predictable feedback it had on the dry track. This is outstanding to see. I have to admit, after seeing how responsive the sidewalls were on the dry autoX track I assumed that might be a disadvantage on wet surfaces. Usually if a tire’s sidewall is relatively stiff this can inhibit wet traction by not allowing the tread and shoulder to flex and roll enough to hold traction. This was not the case with the Comp-2. BFGoodrich added a silica infused rubber compound to the tire’s tread. The combination of their tried and true tread design and the carcass improvements give the Comp-2 amazing grip on wet surfaces. The wet surface traction was so good that one of the drivers in our group made the comment, “I actually forgot I was driving on a wet track partially through his first lap”.
After having a firsthand look at the new BFG Comp-2 and completing all four tests Matt and I agreed that the Comp-2 makes guys like us better drivers. The Comp-2 is the best BFGoodrich UHP summer tire we have driven thus far. Both of us were most impressed with the Comp-2’s wet traction improvements and the tire’s ability to give us ample time to make adjustments before reaching its breaking point. Ultra high performance tires are asked to perform under huge variances from vehicle to vehicle and finding a tire that can improve the performance of an ultra high sport compact and the heavy modern muscle cars of today is a great thing to see. Both Matt and I give BFG two big thumbs up for this one.
Discount Tire Co.
Click here to shop for the new BFGoodrich g-Force Sport now!
(available in April, 2012)