SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has agreed to provide contingency sponsorship for the 2018 American Rally Association (ARA) season, joining Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. and Maxxis International as tire companies supporting the year-old race sanctioning body.
The ARA, founded in 2016 as a non-profit enterprise to coordinate professional rally racing in the U.S., has organized a seven-race national schedule for 2018 and attracted the support of the United States Auto Club (USAC) to help manage its operations.
"The sport of rally aligns well within the USAC view of motorsports with its extreme racing action over dirt roads, through tree-lined forests and led by grassroots passionate racers," USAC Racing CEO Kevin Miller said.
"While we have sanctioned rally competition since 2013, this new direction will allow us to increase our focus with additional assets and personnel to strengthen and unify rally competition throughout the USA."
The 2018 season starts April 20-22 with the Oregon Trail Rally in rural Oregon and ends Oct. 6-7 with the Tour de Forest in terrain around Olympia, Wash.
"Cooper has a very successful global racing history in rally and looks to extend that reach into the U.S. rally racing circuit with the American Rally Association," Meg Snyder, Cooper's rally program manager said.
Cooper has nominated its M+S Gravel Rally tires for use in the series. The tire maker will award prizes based on finishing results in class — first in class will receive a set of four M+S Gravel Rally tires, second in class two tires and third place one tire.
Cooper's contingency is similar to Hoosier's and Maxxis'.
Both Hoosier and Maxxis will award class winners a set of four tires, while second in class will receive three tires, third place two tires and fourth one tire.
Hoosier is running the Hoosier Gravel Rally tire while Maxxis is offering its Maxxis Victra R-19 Rally tires.
In all cases, competitors must use the respective tire on all four corners of their cars and provide proof of purchase from an authorized dealer to be eligible for the respective tire company programs.