Staying true to its grassroots racing heritage, BFGoodrich Tires introduces the winner of its amateur performance driving contest into the field of the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge being held in conjunction with the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires season finale at Road Atlanta.
The MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge series is the entry-level pro road racing series sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and the Skip Barber Racing School featuring the Mazda MX-5 sportscar running on BFGoodrich g-Force™ R1 tires.
BFGoodrich® Tires, manufacturer of products designed to handle any adventure, and TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s MOTOR TREND and FOURWHEELER, crowned Mike ller of Redlands, Calif., the nation’s top amateur performance driver after a two-day competition testing drivers with on- and off-road driving challenges in May.
Iler, a construction contractor and aspiring performance driver, triumphed in the competition, which featured 56 amateur drivers who attempted to prove they were “driver enough” with two high-horsepower vehicles — the new 2015 Ford Mustang GT, outfitted with BFGoodrich® Tires g-Force™ COMP-2™ A/S ultra-high performance tires, and a 2014 Ford Raptor, equipped with the BFGoodrich® Tires All-Terrain T/A™ KO2.
Since his outstanding performance in this contest, BFGoodrich Tires extended the program by taking Iler to the Skip Barber Racing Schoolto be trained by experts, including BFGoodrich Performance Team member and Skip Barber instructor Terry Earwood. Iler aims to prove he is driver enough to compete against current and aspiring professional race car drivers in equally prepared Mazda MX-5 racecars equipped with BFGoodrich g-Force R1 tires.
The Driver Enough Challenge champion was determined by the fastest combined lap times from both on- and off-road courses at Willow Springs Raceway in California. Celebrity BFGoodrich performance pro driver Andrew Comrie-Picard and off-road pro driver Brad Lovell participated as expert instructors to set baseline lap times on their respective courses for the challengers to beat. Once the dust settled and the on- and off-road runs from all the challengers were calculated, ller took home first place with the grand prize of a new set of BFGoodrich® Tires and now a chance to live a dream by racing in a professional series.
“This has been a bucket-list journey for me – from qualifying at the ‘Driver Enough’ challenge in California, then training at the Skip Barber School and now a live sanctioned race,” said Iler. “It’s been one cool experience after another, and I can’t wait to make everyone who’s supported me this year proud in the race.”
The two signature BFGoodrich tires used on the vehicles provided the performance characteristics needed for participants to maintain confidence in their driving abilities. The new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A™ KO2, launched in late 2014, is the most advanced and toughest light-truck tire ever built by the company that created the All-Terrain category. The new g-Force™ COMP-2™ A/S tire brings race-proven technology to everyday use in an ultra-high performance all-season tire that delivers the ability to accelerate faster, brake shorter and maintain control in all seasons.
Through an integrated partnership, BFGoodrich® Tires and TEN: The Enthusiast Network, the world’s premier network of enthusiast brands, selected six amateurs based on videos they submitted displaying their driving talents, and gave them an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the challenge last spring at Willow Springs, Calif. Another 50 local amateurs signed up through the event website and made the trip themselves.