From Track to Street: Continental Gets Help Designing its New UHP Tire
The Twitter hashtag for the new ExtremeContact Sport is #track2street. Continental Tire the Americas LLC means that literally.
The ultra-high performance tire was designed with the help of five International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers (Continental sponsors IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, which is part of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship).
The “unprecedented” result is a tire Travis Roffler, Continental’s director of marketing, says was built for car enthusiasts and engineered for extreme grip in dry and wet conditions.
“These drivers pushed our tires to the limits to help develop a tire that includes superb dry handling while not sacrificing any of Continental’s award-winning performance in the wet.” Roffler describes the summer tire as “ideal for sports cars and sport and luxury vehicles” like the Nissan GTR, Porsche 911 and BMW M5.
The five drivers who helped develop the tire are:
- Andy Lally, three-time IMSA champion and five-time Rolex 24 Hour winner;
- Joao Barbosa, back-to-back and reigning IMSA champion;
- Ozz Negri, Rolex 24 Hour winner;
- Ryan Dalziel, 24 Hour of Le Mans winner, Rolex 24 Hour winner, and WEC champion; and
- Lawson Aschenbach, Continental Tire SportsCar Series champion and two-time World Challenge champion.
“The level of detail each driver gave was extraordinary, and we think the combined expertise of the driver’s knowledge and our technologies will give car enthusiasts the precision and grip they expect in a UHP tire,” says Bob Liu, performance tires product manager.With the help of its proprietary SportPlus Technology, Continental designed the ExtremeContact Sport with precise handling; security on wet, slippery roads; and excellent tread life. It is superior to its predecessor, the ExtremeContact DW, in several categories, including dry handling, steering response, tread life, noise, and comfort. Handling was improved by strengthening the sidewall construction, although this led to “a little step back in rolling resistance,” says Liu.
What hasn’t changed are Continental’s Tuned Performance Indicators. The “D” (Dry) and “W” (Wet) letters in the tread indicate the tire’s optimal performance levels in dry and wet conditions.
The ExtremeContact Sport is backed by the Continental Total Confidence Plan: a 60-day customer satisfaction trial (or 2/32-inch of tread wear); 12-month road hazard coverage (or first 2/32-inch); 72-month manufacturer’s limited warranty program; 30,000-mile limited mileage warranty (15,000-mile warranty for staggered rear fitments); and three-year flat tire roadside assistance (or towing up to 150 miles).
The UHP new tire, which will replace the ExtremeContact DW in February, will be available in 71 W- and Y-rated sizes ranging from 205/50ZR15 86W to 335/25ZR20 99Y. Liu says the tire will feature 10 new 20-inch sizes (see sidebar).
“We listen to our dealers as much as we can, and we know we had to bolster the size lineup in the higher rim diameters.” ■
Size additions and subtractions
Although the Continental ExtremeContact Sport is replacing the ExtremeContact DW, there were 24 size changes.
205/50ZR15 195/50ZR16 205/45ZR16
275/40ZR18 235/40ZR19 265/40ZR19
295/35ZR19 255/40ZR20 235/35ZR20
245/35ZR20 265/35ZR20 285/35ZR20
305/35ZR20 275/30ZR20 285/30ZR20
225/55ZR16 235/50ZR17 285/35ZR18
225/40ZR19 245/45ZR19 265/30ZR19
Continental increased the number of 20-inch sizes from seven to 17. It eliminated its only 21-inch size.