In 2000, I experienced the then-new Ford Mustang Cobra R at the Streets of Willow circuit. It was powerful and I was blown away by the grip. Thinking I'd see R-compound tires underneath, I'll never forget seeing BF Goodrich G-Force T/A KD.
Fast-forward to 2013 and we're at the launch of BFG's G-Force Rival. It took place at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, using both the fast track and coned courses.
For a street tire, the Rival is unbelievable. We tested it against competitors in the extreme performance summer tire category, starting on a coned course in E46 BMW M3s.
Unlike other tire tests, BFG asked us to sample the Rival first, eliminating any false sense of improvement as you learn the track. It was a bold but brilliant move.
A few laps with the Rival-equipped M3 showed the tire was easy to drive fast. Whereas swapping to an M3 with Hankook Ventus RS-3 (a good tire in its own right), we instantly noticed slower braking responses, followed by a "whoa!" as you enter the quick esses. In fact, I had to change my driving style slightly but even so, I couldn't help but drift through the final esses, leading to slower times on the Hankooks.
Next was the big track in Ford Mustang FR500S factory racers. We started on the Rival and again it was very comfortable going fast. If you entered a turn too hot, the 'Stang would understeer but a slight lift would instantly recover the grip, hiding my mistakes.
The competitor tire was the Falken Azenis RT-615k. With its wide outer tread blocks, we were sure the Falken would hold its own but I ate my words coming out of Turn 2's fast, third-gear, left/right switchbacks. I quickly lost confidence in these tires. So again, the BFG tire shone against some stiff competition.
Onto the next coned course, and a Subaru WRX STi with both Hankook Ventus R-S3 and Toyo R1R for comparison. Again the Rival went first but we were able to jump back into the Rival after driving the two competitors.
With the inevitable understeer from the AWD car, this was a good exercise in just how fast the Rival regains its composure, with its competitors taking longer to recover. The result was a slower lap because neither the Hankook nor the Toyo had the precision of the BFG.
The Hankook was closer in performance to the Rival than the Toyo, which felt as if it was overheating. It's also worth mentioning the difference in wear rates. We noticed the Hankooks started cupping while the Toyos felt greasy and were in a bad way at the end of the day. However the Rival, with nearly twice as many runs, looked as if it had cruised on the highway thanks to its ability to soak up the punishment and not generate as much heat.
Lastly, there were the Mazda Miata racers on a tight skidpad. And the competition was BFG's own acclaimed Sport Comp-2 (a leading ultra-high performance tire) and the BFG G-Force R1, which is an R-compound racing tire. The idea was to see where the Rival falls between a good summer tire and a racing tire.
For us, the numbers said it all. With the Comp-2, the average lateral g was an impressive 1.03-1.05, while the R1 was 1.22-1.25g for lap after lap. Switching to the Rival, it registered 1.14-1.16g. In doing so it not only proved itself closer to the R1, but showed great consistency under high cornering loads. And with a 200 UTQG rating, it means that tire should outlast many of the softer performance options.
The event left us flabbergasted and at one point concerned about whether this was a scam. Were the cars the same, the tire pressures equal? There were so many questions but we had a chance to speak to tire expert Matt Edmunds, Vice President at Tire Rack. When asked if we should be skeptical of our own results and conclusions, Matt confirmed that from his own independent testing these were "the real deal." With that said, we were glad to find another BFG tire we won't forget and can thank parent company Michelin for giving the brand another champion.
BFGoodrich G-Force Rival tech features
- Dynamic Suspension System (DDS): Reinforced internal structure for increased steering response and control
- Equal Tension Containment (ETEC) System: Optimizes the tire's contact patch and traction at speed
- g-Control Sidewall Insert: Advanced sidewall stiffening for direct steering response
- Extreme Tread Edge (ETE): Tread compound extends further down the shoulder
- Claw Grooves: These tapered and curved lateral grooves create gripping claws for traction
- Lateral Draft Angles: Optimized block and rib rigidity under lateral acceleration
- Chamfers: Distribute the contact pressure under extreme braking across the tread blocks