Dunlop Motorsport trial innovative intelligence chip in one of world’s biggest sport categories

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Dunlop Motorsport today announced the trial of new electronic intelligence innovation embedded into the tyre of the world’s premier motorcycle racing event – MotoGP, where Dunlop is the official tyre partner of the Moto2 and Moto3 championships.

The company has announced its future goal is to increase tyres’ intelligence to the point that tyres are feeding back vital real-time information to the rider. The starting point of this evolution takes place today through testing at Circuito de Jerez in Spain. Dunlop Motorsport has teamed up with MotoGP organisers Dorna Sports and IRTA (International Road Racing Teams Association) with the aim of introducing its award-winning RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology at the start of the 2014 season.

Dunlop Motorsport has already enjoyed success in global motorsport and truck industries with RFID, including the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in the UK and the FIA European Truck Racing Championship.

The key element of the RFID technology is a tiny, 1cm chip. The microchip is built into the tyre on the assembly line at Dunlop’s centre of excellence in Birmingham, UK, and is programmed with a unique code that identifies the tyre, enabling automatic reading to see the type and size of the tyre as well as its unique identity number.

Revolutionizing the Motor Sport industry

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in the UK and Dunlop Motorsport Europe successfully pioneered a world first in motor sport tyre technology in 2011 with all tyres on BTCC cars – exclusively supplied by Dunlop – 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. In the FIA European Truck Racing Championship all Goodyear 315/70R22.5 truck race tyres are built with RFID. This system is used by the company for tyre management purposes at races and FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) officials use it for regulatory purposes.

The success of this innovative technology on four wheels is now being tested on motorcycle tyres for the first time, explains Tony Duffy, Dunlop Operations Manager.

“When you look at key introductions in motorcycle motorsports over the years such as the restrictions of cylinders and gears in 1967 and the introduction of carbon brakes in 1988 we believe this is up there as one of the most significant introductions to Motorcycle racing since its inception.

“Firstly the RFID technology will be a huge benefit in ensuring no tyre is missed and we can provide the Moto2 and Moto3 organisers with a 100 per accurate log of each tyre’s activity. However, while the RFID chips only currently carry identifying data it may be possible in the future to make them dynamic so that real-time monitoring of various criteria is possible offering a range of exciting opportunities from a rider intelligence point of view.

“Whilst the technology has now been around for a couple of years in other global race categories, today we will be ensuring the RFID tags remain stable in the MotoGP tyre and fine-tuning the frequencies to the point where no tyre is ‘missed’ when bikes return from the track. Together with our technical partner Datalinx we have achieved a great breakthrough for motorsport globally and we are sure this will be a success in MotoGP from the start of next season.”

Awards and developments

In 2011 Dunlop was selected as “One of the best of the Automotive Sector 2011 – Innovation Technology Category” by a team of journalists from AutoData Publishing, the most specialized auto industry magazine in Brazil. This recognised the company’s work related to RFID technology in its tyres. Datalinx also scooped a major international award thanks to its involvement with RFID technology, winning the prestigious Most Innovative Solution of the Year trophy at Motorola’s Executive Partner Conference.

Dunlop’s 125th birthday

Dunlop celebrates its 125th anniversary this year but continues to look towards the future as it celebrates 125 years of leadership explains James Bailey Director of Marketing Dunlop Motorsport Europe:

“Looking back, our heritage and culture of technological innovation in competitive motorsport cannot be rivalled. Dunlop has had a long list of motor sport wins over the years on two wheels and four including more wins in the Endurance Motorcycle World than any other tyre manufacturer. Looking forward, we are now introducing new technologies such as the RFID as well as developing tyres for the Green GT H2, a car and technology that are part of the future of motorsport and motoring.

“This year alone Dunlop will be supplying over 250,000 tyres over the course of the season to over 500 different racing teams across more than 30 different championships worldwide from our Birmingham centre of excellence. With 2013 being Dunlop’s 125th anniversary we are more determined than ever to make it one of our most successful years ever.”

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