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A few months ago I received an email from BFG inviting me to come down to NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans to experience their new addition to their tire lineup. I was very honored to have the privilege of being one of the first to test out these new tires. Not to mention it was a great way to escape the cold weather we have in Wisconsin for a few days.

I arrived at NOLA Motorsports Park the morning of Jan 22nd. The weather was great with temps in the mid 60’s and mostly sunny. Perfect temp for tire testing, not too hot, not too cold. After a very informative tire lecture from the guys at BFG, we were ready to put them to the test. My group got to start with the E46 BMW M3’s on a very quick Autocross course. Two had the BFG Rivals and the other two had the Hankook RS3. Right away it was very easy to tell the difference. The RS3’s with their soft sidewall have a more “lazy” feel to it and lack that crisp, turn in response. I haven’t had much experience in an M3 so I found this test my least favorite.

BFG Rival Street Tire testing at NOLA Motorsports Park

The next test was on the NOLA Road Course using six Mustang FR500 race cars.  Three using the BFG Rivals and the other three on Falken 615k’s.  I wish I would have had a bit more track time to familiarize myself with the track as most of my seat time with the BFG’s was spent learning the track rather than testing the tires.  However after going out on the Falken’s, the difference was night and day.  The 615’s had overall less grip laterally as well as very unstable braking compared to the Rivals.

BFG Rival at NOLA Motorsports Park, Mustang FR500

The third test was my favorite as it was something I was very familiar with, a Subaru STi.  We had three tires to try, BFG Rivals, Toyo R1R’s, and Hankook RS3’s on another autocross course.  I felt right at home in these cars and knew how they drove so I really valued this test the most.  The BFG’s very much reminded me of the Dunlop Starspecs with an improved turn in response over the RS3’s (and R1R’s).  I was hoping they had a car on the new Dunlop ZII’s to compare but as you know, those tires won’t be readily available for another few months.

BFG Rival at NOLA Motorsports Park, STi

Lastly, the Skid Pad.  Using 3 Mazda MX5’s, one with BFG’s G-Force Comp2, another with the Rival, and the third on BFG’s DOT R1S.  Each car was equipped with a lateral G-meter and around we go.  The average results seemed to be .8G on the Comp2’s, 1.05G on the Rivals, and 1.2G on the R1S’s.   I was also able to notice the “break-away” point of each tire.  The Rivals shared many of the same characteristics of the R1S’s.

BFG Rival at NOLA Motorsport Park, MX5 Skid Pad

To sum things up, BFG nailed it this time.  They really will be a top contender in the ST/RT classes as well as other organizations that require 140+ TW ratings.  I’m convinced these tires will outperform the RS3’s, R1R’s, and the 615k’s, but the final test will be with the Dunlop’s.

Big thanks to BFGoodrich for inviting me to the Rival Launch Event.

For more information, check them out on TireRack.


Thanks for reading!

-Andy Smedegard


Photos from Rick Dole Photography



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