Yes, desert dust, sand and mud are our daily fare in off-road racing today. What you may not know is BFGoodrich tyres have contributed to very different events than motor racing victories. Let us tell you about our exciting history and its juicy anecdotes.
How did it all start?
In 1870, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich founded a rubber industry in North America, in Akron, Ohio.
At first, the factory made bicycle tyres, then car tyres that could handle the speed and load of the evolving automobile. This led Charles Goodrich, Benjamin Franklin's son, to establish the very first tyre research centre in the United States.
BFGoodrich soon identified another means of improving mobility by entering the rapidly expanding industry of aeronautics. This allowed the challenge-oriented brand to push the limits in new ways:
- The brand was involved in the 75km/h speed record set in 1909, at the first international air race held in Reims, on a Curtiss Aeroplane Corporation plane.
- The 1920s presented the chance to conquer a challenge that was once thought unthinkable. In 1927, BFGoodrich provided the tyres for the Spirit of St. Louis, in which Charles Lindbergh made the first nonstop transatlantic flight in history.
In our history, we've never backed down from a challenge. And we never will. Below is a glimpse of some of the notable challenges that BFGoodrich has conquered throughout its rich history.
Our history has marked the cinema
"Bullitt" - San Francisco, 1968
Followed by the director's cameras, Steve McQueen gets into a green Ford Mustang. He revs up the car's engine and sets off on a wild chase that will set the cinema screens alight.
Tyres screeching, heads-to-tail, car jumps in the sloping streets of San Francisco... This cult sequence from the film "Bullitt" left thousands of viewers clinging to their seats as if they were sitting in the Mustang next to Steve McQueen.
The tyres that were used for this action scene? BFGoodrich!
Batman and other famous car stunts
If you're a Batman fan, you may be surprised to learn that the Batmobile ran on BFGoodrich tyres in the very first film adaptation of the superhero (1939). The Penguin had better watch out!
BFGoodrich tyres were also chosen for the thrilling car chases of Burt Reynolds in his Pontiac Firebird in "Smokey and the Bandit" (1977), as well as for the mythical General Lee in the series "The Dukes of Hazzard" (from 1979) whose breathtaking stunts made a lasting impression on the small screen.
We are proud to know that even in the movies our tyres have been chosen for the most demanding stunts.
Our history has marked… History
Did you know that before our tyres were fitted to cars in the cinema, they contributed to historical events?
In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson made the first coast to coast crossing of the United States in a vehicle. Guess which tyres were mounted on his Winton touring car? Exactly! BFGoodrich tyres.
In 1927, the first transatlantic flight ever made solo and without a stopover was accomplished by Charles Lindbergh. The tyres fitted to the aircraft to ensure a successful take-off and landing were also BFGoodrich tyres.
Whether in the dust of the roads or in the turbulence in the air, these pioneers thrilled the crowds, drew tears of emotion, and broke a new record that seemed unthinkable at the time.
We are proud to have contributed to these adventures by providing the high performance, safe and efficient tyres that these heroes could rely on.
Our history is marked by victories
In addition to these historic achievements, we have also taken on many challenges in motor racing. We began by being the first tyre manufacturer to win consecutive titles at the Indianapolis 500.
We soon found a passion for the dirtier side of racing and built a respected off-road reputation. From the deserts of Baja to the badlands of Dakar, BFGoodrich has seen — and won — it all.
Indianapolis 500 , 1913
Moser G 240185
We’ve faced much adversity through the years in on-and off-road racing, which has taught us many important lessons about the way tyres perform. Our engineers have applied these learnings to every product in every segment.
Still dominating the dirt
It’s fitting, when you think about it, that the tyre manufacturer that created the all-terrain category in the first place is still dominating the dirt today.
Since our first Baja 1000 victory in 1972, we’ve racked up well over 200 off-road championships. Including 21 consecutive Baja 1000 titles between 1986 and 2007 — making BFGoodrich the benchmark for North America Desert racing.
But like any great competitor, BFGoodrich grew restless and wanted to see what else the world had to offer.
2006 became a turning point in our global legacy, as we entered the World Rally Championship (WRC), helping Sébastien Loeb secure the title five years in a row and providing the Citroën and Ford teams wins in the constructors' championship.
During our brief time in the WRC (2006-10), we won every drivers’ and constructors’ title up for grabs. The brand also entered the IRC in 2007, winning in its first year with Peugeot.
BFGoodrich built upon this success, winning titles in the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup and Dakar. With eight Dakar wins in the mid 2000s, BFGoodrich returned in 2016 to pick up right where they left off, by propelling Team Peugeot to victory.
The brand's presence is still felt at many local races, especially in North America where the quality of BFGoodrich tyres excels on a wide range of surfaces, including dirt, sand, rock and asphalt, proof of the incredible versatility of BFGoodrich products.
Our extensive presence in the world of competition has been made possible by a number of key partnerships.
What drove us to take on all these challenges and to succeed?
Passion. Enthusiasm. The thrill of adventure. The excitement of victory. And the desire to push the boundaries of what is possible, as we always have. This has driven us to innovate and improve performance, introducing clever new technologies.
The key innovations we have carried out
It’s more than just crossing the finish line first that excites us, as you can see from some of the key innovations we have introduced:
- First tubeless tyre for American cars (1947)
- First radial tyre on the American market (1965)
- First run-flat tire (1967)
- First all-terrain tyre (1976)
- First line of heavy truck/commercial tires (1996)
The following video celebrates 150 years of BFGoodrich tyres.
Celebrating 150 Years of Building | BFGoodrich® Tires
Built for driving enthusiasts, by driving enthusiasts
If you're a driving enthusiast, we're a good fit. Because we are too! We put our heart into our work because it is passion that drives our ambitions and motivates us to make your dreams come true.
Our promise is to go further and further by pushing the limits of innovation, by winning more and more races, by creating strong emotions and adrenaline rushes. Our goal is to keep satisfying the taste for adventure of daring drivers and to continue to mark history with our tyre tracks
We stand shoulder to shoulder with our customers at a multitude of events all over the world. From trade shows to small grassroots efforts. On- and off-road, we provide unmatched capability through tyres designed for performance in difficult and extreme conditions.
In competition and everyday life, we’ve erased all doubt about our capability on the road, off the road and over the road.
How about you? Are you ready to experience the thrill of adventure behind the wheel of your vehicle?