The 2002 PACE Award for innovation is awarded to the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for the development of their “Wrangler MT/R,” Maximum Traction/Reinforced, off-road tire. The tire features “Durawall” technology, which consists of a three-ply sidewall incorporating advanced compounds, new to tire sidewalls. Its tread is also a new, patented, wrap-around design with a “squarish” footprint resulting from a computer- optimized tread pattern.
This is the result of Goodyear’s determination to develop an off-road tire by devising a new way of designing and engineering tires in the first place. A cross-functional team was formed. They created a new compound and materials that would permit the tire to brush off sidewall cuts and punctures. The compound contained silica, a new application in sidewalls. The material consisted of a third angled ply which was added to the body construction. This created a grid-like barrier that would prevent rock penetration. (Radial plies with non-crossing cords are more prone to puncture.) Additionally, a new mold shape and tread pattern emerged from advanced computer analyses. As a result, the new design, the Wrangler MT/R, has vastly improved lateral stability and a higher net-to-gross material ratio in the center region of the tread.
The result of these innovations is an off-road tire with increased traction in mud and sand, a higher mileage tread, quiet running on ordinary pavements, better handling, and, most importantly, greater safety due to abrasion and puncture resistance.
The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R off-road tire is standard equipment on the 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and the commercial version of the AM General HUMMER. It is the first off-road tire to meet OEM specifications for treadware and quietness as original equipment.