GREENVILLE, S.C.Michelin North America Inc.'s BFGoodrich brand has developed a utility-terrain-vehicle (UTV) version of its flagship off-road radial, the Baja T/A KR2, for use predominantly by racers competing in various off-road racing series.
The development came in response to a query from Jackson Motorsports Group, the Greenville-based distributor of Michelin- and BFG-brand racing tires, which saw an opportunity for BFG to be active in what many are saying is the fastest-growing off-road racing class.
UTVs are two-seat, rear-drive side-by-side all-terrain vehicles, with a maximum engine displacement of 1,000 cc. Among the vehicles competing in this class are the CanAM Maverick, Polaris RZR and Yamaha Wolverine.
BFGoodrich Racing Director Chris Baker said with having a KR2 derivative available for the growing UTV race class, we continue charging forward with our goal of providing the best desert race tires to the broadest collection of racers. The KR2 is on its way to becoming the go-to race tire in the desert.
BFG/Jackson Motorsports gave the KR2-UTV version a baptism by fire earlier this year, running it on a number of entries at the 47th Baja 500. One of those entries, the Jagged X team finished fourth in class.
Jackson Motorsports launched the UTV KR2 derivative June 5 just ahead of the Baja 500.
For now, the tire is available in just one size, 30x9.50R15, which is the size of choice for competitors in this class. The major sanctioning bodies limit tire size to 15-inch rim diameter and 30-inch overall diameter.
BFG said the tire is not an LT tire being forced to fit on a side-by-side, but rather it's a side-by-side tire that looks like a proven LT tire that has multiple off-road championships.
The difference lies in the tire's architecture, BFG said, which allows the tire to behave in a very forgiving manor that enthusiasts can adapt to. You don't have to be a racer to appreciate what this tire provides.
Todd Steen, executive Director of Sales for JMG, said asking BFG to engineer a durable, lightweight 30-inch UTV-specific tire that offers a long oval footprint and a tread face that conforms to the infinite terrain possibilities was a huge request.
Michelin is building the tire at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
While the tire has motorsports in its DNA, Jackson Motorsports said it will be available for racers and off-roading enthusiasts alike.
The race tire distributor described the UTV KR2 as a true side-by-side tire with the architecture of a proven light truck tire that allows it to behave in forgiving manner to which enthusiasts can adapt.