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Cooper Tires unveils new studded ice tyre for RallyX on Ice

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RallyX on Ice’s title partner, Cooper Tire Europe, has today (5 March) unveiled the new studded ice rallycross tyre that has been produced specifically for the week-long winter motorsport festival set to take Sweden by storm later this month (18-23 March).

Officially unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, this tyre has been developed utilising Cooper’s experience in the field of ice racing and Scandinavian rally championships, and is designed to create less erosion on a frozen lake whilst generating more traction.

With all three rounds of RallyX on Ice to be held on a frozen lake at Åre in Sweden, this new introduction is sure to add to the spectacle of what is already one of the most talked-about events on the annual motorsport calendar.

The 17-inch tyre contains 416 studs and has been tested on a specially-constructed ice circuit near the Arctic Circle, where a number of studding layouts were tried out to optimise ice grip while minimising the surface wear of the ice. It will also deliver a more consistent performance over a longer range as a result of a lower load per unit area, and is less prone to losing studs during use.

We spoke to Cooper Tire Europe’s Development Chemist for Motorsports, Matthew Vincent, to find out more...

What prompted you to design this new product specifically for RallyX on Ice?

We received an approach around a year ago from the RallyX on Ice series organisers requesting that we look at designing a bespoke tyre like this. Given this is a new and exciting winter market for us, we didn’t really need much persuasion.

What were the major challenges along the way?

The RallyX on Ice organisers were looking first and foremost for a tyre that fitted their existing summer rim. Historically, they’d had to buy new wheels for the series just to fit a bespoke tyre for three or four races. They also asked us to look at maintaining consistency throughout the event, and to make this previously very specific product feel closer to its summer sister tyre.

How has testing gone?

Testing has gone very well. We actually tested the first iteration of the new product a year ago. We made some minor changes during the summer before resuming testing at the end of January. The success of that test meant we were ready to enter the manufacturing phase, and now here it is!

Can you tell us what class of car it is for?

It will be used to start with in the Supercar Lites category, but one of the design briefs was that the tyre should be able to be run on Supercars too, and to that end, we have development tests with Supercars planned in preparation for the 2020 season.

“We are really excited about the new tyre we have developed with our partner Cooper Tire Europe,” added RallyX on Ice Series Director, Andreas Eriksson. “As we requested, it reacts more like the summer tyre, which will generate more of a level playing field for all comers. Previously, the narrow ice tyre was a little specialist, which gave a slight advantage to those drivers from the Nordic regions that were used to driving on it.

“We are excited to test this new tyre on the Supercars during this month’s RallyX on Ice Festival, and who knows, if all goes well maybe there will be a round on the ice for Supercars in RallyX Nordic next year..?”

Spectators at Åre can watch all the RallyX on Ice action free of charge, while those unable to attend can follow the excitement via a combination of social media and TV broadcasts, details of which will be announced soon. Parties interested in receiving the world feed should contact ian.davies@rallyx.se

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