Conti adds to ‘fifth generation’ performance range
Over the last two years, Continental has introduced its fifth generation of tyres. Representing the high performance segment is most notably the ContiSportContact5 and ContiSportContact 5P. A third, recently introduced addition to Continental’s high performance range is the ContiForceContact. Tyres & Accessories spoke to Continental brand manager Peter Robb about the line-up.
The ContiForceContact is a road legal track day tyre, the German tyre maker’s first tyre of its kind. Continental says this latest product sets a new benchmark for high performance cars. Development of the ContiForceContact was undertaken together with some of the world’s leading tuning partners, including AC Schnitzer and Techart. Continental reports using considerable resources and expertise in researching and developing the new tyre, and conducted extensive testing at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. For track performance, Continental used its patented Black Chilli compound in the ContiForceContact. “Black Chilli is an adapting compound that provides both superb handling and good rolling resistance,” comments Robb. “It comes from our bike division and is a racing grade of carbon black.”
According to Continental, the Black Chilli compound ensures maximum intermeshing between the tyre and road surface for ultimate grip, while the macro-block shoulder design employed is described as delivering great handling and superb cornering. The result, Conti says, is superb adhesion in dry conditions and consistently fast lap times, making ContiForceContact an ideal tyre for keen track drivers. Although the focus is on dry performance, bi-directional drainage grooves are present on the inside of the tread, and these are intended to provide excellent wet weather performance on the track and – importantly – allow the driver to get home safely whatever the weather.
Protyre Motorsport is the primary distributor for the ContiForceContact in the UK market. The tyre is available in 18 to 20-inch rim sizes. While Robb comments that the ContiForceContact is a niche product for track days, and as such Continental doesn’t expect to sell large numbers of this tyre in the UK, he says it showcases what Continental can do. “It’s a serial production, road legal tyre that can get you home after a track day event,” he shares. “Road legal track tyres are fairly commonplace now, but the ContiForceContact places more of a focus on getting to and from the track.”
Those looking for on-road performance are catered for by the ContiSportContact line. Two products are available – the ContiSportContact 5 and the ContiSportContact 5P. The first of these is mainly available in 17-inch and upwards fitments (18-inch and up for 4×4 vehicles), and Continental says the range “represents a significant progression on the successful ContiSportContact 3.” The manufacturer claims shorter braking distances in all weather conditions, excellent road grip and safety when cornering and reduced fuel consumption.
The ContiSportContact 5 was introduced early last year and outperforms its predecessor in both braking performance and rolling resistance (which is 12 per cent lower than on the SportContact 3). Continental attributes these improvements to its use of the Black Chilli compound. This year 4×4 sizes were added to the SportContact 5 range; the ContiSportContact 5 SUV is available in a range of sizes from 18 inch upwards on models such as the BMW X5 and Audi Q7.
Development of the ContiSportContact 5 took approximately three years from the initial concept to its market launch, shares Robb. As would be expected from a tyre maker with a strong original equipment business, vehicle manufacturers’ needs played an important role in the 5’s development. “With the ContiSportContact 5, development took place during the recession, and it became apparent from vehicle manufacturers that they’d like to see a focus on rolling resistance – something not traditionally associated with the high performance segment,” he added. “This is the reason behind the 5P’s strength in rolling resistance.”
Robb describes the ContiSportContact 5P as the company’s “top line performance tyre.” The range targets 19-inch and higher rim diameters, and the brand manager comments that the 5P works best with different front and rear wheel fitments. According to Continental, the ContiSportContact 5P offers “precise precise steering and maximum grip under all conditions,” enabling it to meet the exacting demands of the latest high performance vehicles. “With outstanding grip and feedback, a supple macro-block design on the outer shoulder and solid central ribs ensure that the tyre adapts perfectly to the road surface,” says Conti.