Continental Tires debut at Sebring
History was made at the 12 Hours of Sebring this week when Continental Tire debuted for the first time in American LeMans Series (ALMS) competition. The Prototype Challenge (PC) presented by Continental Tire rolled on Continental’s ExtremeContact line of tires for the first time during Monday’s test session to rave reviews.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how this week has gone,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. “We received excellent feedback from all the teams on the performance of the Continental tires and I think the racing backed that up. We couldn’t ask for more. Congratulations to the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team on their win in the PC class.”
Saturday’s enduro saw 27 lead changes in PC competition and numerous sessions on double stinted tires. In the end, it was fresh tires that gave the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team and driver, David Ostella, the edge over the BAR1 Motorsports machine piloted by Kyle Marcelli. After falling to the back early in the race due to contact with a P1 car, the PR1/Mathiasen team fought back with pit strategy and sheer determination. The win marked the teams first victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“It was amazing,” said Ostella following the race. “First time here in the American LeMans Series with the Continental tires and this car was hooked up all race. The team did an awesome job.”
Co-driver Mike Gausch, who’s won two of the last three 12 Hours of Sebring, also praised the performance of the Continental tires while third co-driver, David Cheng, chimed in saying, “Lap by lap it was all about protecting the car and getting it to this last two hour window.” Cheng continued, “We learned a lot about these Continental tires and we came up with the perfect strategy to put these Continental tires to use. The last stop we took tires and Kyle (Marcelli) didn’t and that won the race for us.”
The BAR1 Motorsports team of Marcelli, Chris Cumming and Stefan Johansson finished second followed by the No. 18 ORECA ALM09 car driven by Tristan Nunez, Charlie Shears and David Heinemeier Hansson for the Performance Tech Motorsports team. During podium festivities, Nunez stated, “I was really impressed actually.” Nunez continued, “I was actually a little closed minded coming into it but the tires are amazing. You didn’t have to wait for that long of a time for the tires to come in when they were cold and they stayed pretty well. For an endurance race, it was a good tire for the LMPC car.”
The Prototype Challenge presented by Continental Tire returns to action Saturday, April 20 when ALMS visits the street of Long Beach, California. Watch all the door-to-door racing on Sunday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET on ABC.