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Greenville Business Magazine

BFGoodrich Tires Teams Up With Automotive Engineering Students

Oct 04, 2018 11:37AM ● By Kathleen Maris

BFGoodrich Tires is helping the next generation of automotive engineers design a rallycross car that’s both powerful and sustainable.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research’s (CU-ICAR) “Deep Orange” program immerses graduate automotive engineering students in designing cars of the future. Each year, the program produces a vehicle prototype that introduces breakthrough innovations. BFGoodrich is a brand of Michelin North America, based in Greenville, a longtime supporter of CU-ICAR, and creator of an endowed chair at Clemson University for vehicle electronic systems integration.

Rallycross is a high-speed, mixed-surface motorsport series with race courses that traverse gravel, dirt, and pavement. BFGoodrich Tires has a storied past in American rallycross racing, which includes building custom tires for the former Red Bull Global Rallycross series for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Rallycross vehicles need more power, agility, acceleration, and braking capabilities than their mass-production counterparts. With these requirements in mind, the students working on the Deep Orange project created a unique 600-horsepower, high-performance, ultra-tough rallycross car with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, advanced technical features, and highly dynamic handling and acceleration.

During the project’s design-build process, BFGoodrich supplied tires for testing, provided tire data, and analysis to the designers, and gave expertise to the design-review phase.

“The rallycross vehicle these students designed is built for racing. But it’s also sustainable and exciting,” said Ken Payne, motorsports technical director for Michelin North America. “We’re hoping the students who worked on this project will take that message with them as they begin their automotive engineering careers.”

The vehicle will be unveiled Oct. 6 on Clemson University’s campus in Clemson, S.C. Andrew Comrie-Picard, a professional rallycross racer, Hollywood stunt driver, and BFGoodrich brand ambassador, will help introduce the car. The stunt driver has competed in five X Games rallycross competitions and will offer guests rides on a simulated rallycross course. Guests who ride along with Comrie-Picard will experience the vehicle performing at adrenaline-pumping levels, while learning that sustainable cars can also be exciting.