Conti Gets Underway as Grand-Am Control Tyre at Daytona
Continental Tire North America calls it a “new era in motorsports” – on January 29, the Grand-Am Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge took the first green flag of the year at Daytona International Speedway, setting into motion both the 2010 Grand-Am racing season as well as a new long-term partnership between Conti and Grand-Am Road Racing in the US. Continental Tire recently became title sponsor and official tyre for the popular endurance road-racing series, which attracted nearly 80 entries for January 28’s ‘Fresh From Florida 200’ event. A tremendous variety of race machines, from Mini Cooper S to Ford Mustang, took to the field, yet despite the size difference all share the same type of tyre, the Continental Extreme Contact DR.
After two and a half hours of racing, the interestingly-named Rum Bum Racing team emerged as victor in the Grand Sports (GS) Class victory by just .107-seconds, with Matt Plumb and first-time Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge driver Gian Bacardi sharing the driving duties in a BMW M3. The Street Tuner (ST) battle was no less intense, notes Conti, as the defending 2009 Championship-winning squad kept the momentum moving when Compass 360R won the ST class with David Thilenius and Lawon Aschenbach combining for victory in a Honda Civic Si.
“I’m speechless about how things went today,” said Plumb. “The car was perfect, and our team’s decision to put two new Continental tyres on the right side played out exactly as they hoped because I was able to make up so much ground in the closing laps and take the win. So I’m completely overwhelmed with how the race went for us in our first time out.”
The day was no less busy off the track, as the race weekend also marked the announcement that Continental Tire is expanding its commitment to Grand-Am Road Racing and will become the official tyre of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, starting with the 2011 season. The new official series status complements the company’s previously announced title sponsorship of the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
“Continental Tire is committed to being a leading force in the motorsports community, and becoming the official tyre of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series is part of that strategy,” said Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing, Continental Tire. “The Rolex Series is one of the most highly-regarded racing series in the US, and will be a perfect format to emphasize the capabilities of our Continental ExtremeContact ultra-high performance tyres. We are honoured and excited that Grand-Am has selected Continental to partner with them as the official tyre of this series.”
During the race event Continental Tire also had a “healthy contingent” of its sales force staff on hand, touring the paddock and taking in the pre-race drivers meeting before assembling for a group photo atop victory circle as part of the post-race ceremonies.