MELKSHAM, England (March 14, 2014) — The Federation International de l’Automobile has designated Cooper Tire Europe as the exclusive race tire supplier for the World Rallycross Championship, a series of a dozen rallycross events predominantly in Europe.
Rallycross is a form of circuit racing on a track with mixed surfaces, usually asphalt and gravel or sealed/unsealed surfaces.
Cooper’s deal with the series is for three years and complements a supply contract Cooper’s Avon brand has with the the French Rallycross Championship through 2015. Cooper supplied the series last year as well.
Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. The World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy differs from the Global Rallycross Championship, the largely North American-based variant that recently awarded Yokohama Tire Corp. its race tire contract.
Since rallycross plays out on changing surfaces, from tarmac to gravel, competitors need a tire that is capable of handling both rough and smooth surfaces, said Sarah McRoberts, marketing communications manager for Cooper Tire Europe.
As a result, Cooper has produced a tire, designated ACB11, that incorporates a “tread” pattern that complies with a specific set of FIA regulations, the tire maker said, such as having a “land-to-sea” ratio of between 17 and 25 percent.
In addition, the ACB11 is designed to allow additional grooves to be hand cut into the pattern to turn it from a “dry” pavement tire to an “intermediate” or even “wet” weather tire.
Cooper hand-builds the tires at its Melksham, England, factory, using a nylon/aramid-fiber casing construction for strength and flexibility.
Cooper also offers added a 17-inch full RX race wet for this season’s European Rallycross Championship.
Cooper Tire Europe has been involved in rallycross for more than 20 years under the Avon Motorsport brand, working with the European Championship, as well as national championships in the UK, Sweden, Portugal, USA, Brazil and more.
World Rallycross has three championship classes — Supercar, production sedans with turbocharged 2-liter, 600bhp engines and four-wheel drive; Super1600, front-wheel drive ‘hot hatches’ using 1.6-liter engines; and TouringCar, rear-wheel drive and 2-liter engines — and RX Lites, a spec category for identical mid-engined, four-wheel-drive racecars.
The championship opens May 3-4 at Montalegre, Portugal, and runs through Nov. 22-23 in Argentina at a venue not yet selected. Ten of the 12 events are in Europe. The series makes one stop in North America, Aug. 7-8 at Trois Rivieres, Quebec.