The HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship and Dunlop have together successfully pioneered a world first in motor sport tyre technology.
All tyres on BTCC cars – exclusively supplied by Dunlop – are now automatically scanned as the cars drive into the pit lane. This ensures that each car is using the correct and allocated tyres at all times.
The scanning is achieved by a miniature Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag embedded inside every tyre allocated to every car. The tag – just one centimetre in length – enables officials from computer systems firm Datalinx, which has been central to the development of the technology, to track every tyre from production and allocation to each team right back to their return to Dunlop for recycling.
Tony Duffy, Operations Manager for Dunlop Motorsport Europe, said: “This has been quite an undertaking – other tyre manufacturers have not yet reached this level – and the BTCC’s technical know-how has been of huge benefit in enabling us to perfect the new system.
“One of our biggest hurdles has been ensuring the RFID tags remain stable in the tyre and fine-tuning the frequencies so that no tyre is ‘missed’ when cars return from the track – even when they slow for the pit lane speed limit, the tyres are still revolving at a considerable rate. We are now at a stage where no tyre is missed and we can provide the BTCC with a 100 per accurate log of each tyre’s activity.”
BTCC Series Director Alan Gow added: “Dunlop and Datalinx have achieved a great breakthrough for motor sport globally and I’m very proud that the BTCC has helped pioneer another world-first – one which, undoubtedly, other championships will eventually follow. In just three seasons we have gone from laboriously (manually) recording every serial number of every tyre used in every practice session and race – and then having to stop each car and visually check them – to having a fully computerised, automated and fool-proof system.”
It is now expected the RFID tag system will be incorporated into other high profile race series in which Dunlop supplies tyres.