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Continental Looking at “Any and Every Opportunity” Amid IMSA Exit

Continental pledges to continue motorsports involvement…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Continental Tire has pledged to continue its motorsports involvement, with it looking at “any and every opportunity” in the sport, despite its exit from IMSA competition at the end of next year.

The longtime tire partner for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and entitlement sponsor of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge has been replaced by Michelin as the new “Official Tire” of IMSA beginning in 2019, as part of a new multi-year agreement.

It comes after IMSA had opened the 2019 tire contract for tender, which it had received multiple bids, in a process that began in March.

According to Travis Roffler, director of marketing of Continental Tire the Americas, Continental received notice a few weeks ago that their bid had not been accepted.

“We were given a target to shoot for and we felt like we gave a very competitive proposal, which was a significant investment increase over what we’ve been doing,” Roffler told Sportscar365.

“Obviously, anybody involved in it knows our investment was significant to begin with.

“Whether it were races or the tracks we were sponsoring, and all the engagement we did at every track with the fan base. We’ve invested with R&D at a fairly substantial level. It was far above that.”

While having been involved in IMSA since 2010, dating back to Grand-Am, Roffler said they are now moving forward to explore new opportunities within the motorsports world. 

“We purchased Hoosier Racing Tire last year,” he said. “Therefore our interest in motorsports is going to be still present.

“Obviously we’re very interested in continuing to grow the brand within motorsports. We’ll be looking at any and every opportunity there is out there.”

When asked about the possibility of exploring an entry into NASCAR, with Goodyear’s contract up at the end of this year, Roffler said “we’re aware of that.”

Roffler has reaffirmed Continental’s commitment to IMSA through the rest of this year and into 2018, where it will continue to support the sanctioning body and its series through various marketing campaigns, both at the track and in the media.

“Our commitment has been there; I think we’ve proven that. We don’t just talk it, we show it and do it,” he said.

“We feel like we always put our best foot forward and will continue to develop tires [for global motorsports] as our interests serve beyond IMSA. We’ll continue to develop tires that have a global platform moving forward.

“Where that takes us, we don’t yet know but we’ll continue to push the tire technology and continue to push the envelope with those global platforms. There’s certainly more to come.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Binky

    September 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Their technical credibility has not been helped through the GranAm/IMSA partnership. Doubt any team in any open tire series would choose Conti’s now or in the near future.

  2. Robin Crickman

    September 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Continental has been pretty generous with their support of racing. I hope they can continue to fund some of their projects. I particularly enjoy the Dinner with Racers series and am looking forward to the new episodes coming this Fall. Nobody quite identifies Continental Tire like Ryan Eversley.

  3. Passenger

    September 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Why they don’t consider back to hometown and support their hometown racing ? ADAC racing series and DTM are good for them.

    • David Chaste

      September 20, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Those 2 series even when combined give less exposure than imsa. And its the size of the markets (population). Hands down there’s no size comparison between the u.s and germany. More people more potential customers.

  4. southcove

    September 20, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    It’s almost funny my disconnect between Contis for racing purposes and my like of Contis for my street rides (almost exclusively) for more than 15 years. I think they certainly serve their purpose where a spec tire is called for. I appreciate all their corporate support for motorsports and racing over the years.

    • Mike S.

      September 20, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Southcove I totally thought that when they were the sole contract when this all began. Good street tire that has been around for a long time but racing road course tire?? I do think they mean well and I think Hoosier purchase on a corporate level helps diversify them as grass roots dirt track racing is on a bit of a comeback as NASCAR is confusing and too long of races every weekend for almost an entire year. No one has time to watch a 4-5 hour long race every weekend. It is geting old that format and needs to get back to its roots. Fell out of half-caring about NASCAR like 10 years ago and I don’t regeret it. NASCAR isn’t growing its past its prime.

      • EricJ

        September 21, 2017 at 8:37 am

        Hooser has been manufacturing the tires used in IMSA/Grand AM to IMSA/Grand Ams specifications. Continental never manufactured the race tires for these series. They were just branded with Continental.

  5. LM Mike

    September 20, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Just buy two GTLM like the new AMR GTE. Show the racing community that you can produce a great Tire.

    • David Chaste

      September 20, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      You mean like Falken did. Good idea. But they have to be good and win a few times per year to make it worthwhile.

      • LM Mike

        September 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm

        Yes, we all like a good Underdog Story. The question is do they (Continental Tire) want to compete. I think they can

      • Davy

        September 20, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Everybody can (and will) win in the current GTLM iteration, so it makes sense. Maybe they can fund RLL if BMW picks somebody else to run their new M8?

  6. Slicks in the wet

    September 21, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Smacks of desperation. Bitter party that was dumped in the relationship.

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