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for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and entitlement sponsor of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge has been replaced by Michelin as the new “Official Tire” of IMSA beginning in 2019, as part of a new multi-year agreement.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