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Shank: 2017 Continental Tire a “Positive Direction”

Michael Shank pleased with new Continental Prototype tire…

Photo: Michael Shank

Photo: Michael Shank

Michael Shank has been pleased with Continental Tire’s new-for-2017 Prototype tire, which is testing Wednesday at Road Atlanta, ahead of its debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.

The Ohio-based team is taking part in a single-day test, organized by the tire manufacturer, with Ozz Negri at the wheel of a HPD ARX-04b, following the car’s most recent outing at Sebring in April.

CORE autosport is also at Road Atlanta, understood to be testing the 2017 tire. The LMP2/DPi tire is slightly taller (680 mm diameter) per the new ACO/FIA/IMSA LMP2 regulations, and features further developments.

“It’s a positive direction,” Shank told Sportscar365. “I’m very happy to see that. [Continental] is making gains and have listened to us in what we thought we were maybe missing, especially compared to after running Le Mans this year, some things that would help everybody here.

“There’s more there for sure. After lunch today, we’ll do some long runs. But for a first run, I’m very happy.”

The test has also marks the second time the team has run the HPD ARX-04b, which Shank has also seen significant gains made since April, mainly in weight distribution and balance.

The updated aero package, which Shank evaluated at Sebring, has remained unchanged.

“I just can’t tell you how much better the 04b is now,” Shank said. “It’s really, really good and I’m really pleased.

“We did a test with it at Sebring just for Wirth and HPD after they updated it. They went away and we got to work with it for a couple of runs on the 2016 tire. It’s right where it should be.

“It’s equal conditions, [compared] to when we tested here last July with the Ligier. It’s cool to see. That car took a lot of heat in ’15 early on, and they’ve stepped up and have made gains on it. It’s really cool.”

Shank said the decision to utilize the 04b for the tire testing  was to have it as close to 2017-spec as possible, as the new cars from ORECA, Onroak Automotive, Riley-Multimatic and Dallara will not be on track until next month at the earliest.

“I think it will allow them to go back and make some really solid decisions for that tire before it gets on a 2017 car,” he said.

“We had to try something to try the ‘big’ tire and this is the perfect car to do it with, to take the big chunks out of the learning and be ready with the 2017 cars are ready to hit the track, to be able to hit it pretty hard.”

The team’s 2017 plans are still to-be-announced, although Shank downplayed the possibility of continuing with its Ligier JS P2 Honda, or even making a switch to the HPD ARX-04b given its expected performance deficit to the new prototypes.

Shank has been linked to running the new Acura NSX GT3 in the GT Daytona class, although the manufacturer has yet to formally announce its North American program.

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

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Issac

    August 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    So by new do they mean they actually developed a new tire or they just rebadging of something Hoosier already makes?

    • This Guy

      August 17, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Reading isn’t your strong suit. Maybe stick to eating your own poo.

      • guest

        August 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

        I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

      • David Chaste

        August 17, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        Being respectful isn’t your strong suit, as you show plainly. Stick to hiding behind your keyboard. You won’t get far with such uncalled for remarks in the real world.

      • Ron Thompson

        August 17, 2016 at 11:54 pm

        That’s funny

  2. Rodger Davies

    August 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Probably a stupid question, but why tyre test in a car with so little data compared to anything else out there running?

    • guest

      August 17, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Shank has done a test with the HPD before, I believe on the current Contis.

      • Jaguar4

        August 17, 2016 at 2:56 pm

        The article states that conti wanted to test a car that’s as close to a 2017 car as possible. Shank says the 04b is pretty close. Remember nobody has tested or even built a 2917 spec car yet

        • someone

          August 17, 2016 at 3:53 pm

          Well obviously those cars wont be built for another 800 years.

          • Barber

            August 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

            *900

    • Jack

      August 18, 2016 at 10:52 am

      The only difference between this car and next years is 50 hp and 100mm in car width

  3. David Chaste

    August 17, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    It’s amazing that Honda hasn’t ran this car all year. My personal opinion is that it still falls short against the Ligier in lap times given the sae engine and the exact same restrictor. It has probably improved but still isn’t better than the Ligier. If it was very competitive, Honda would have drafted Andretti or Starworks for a factory effort.

    • Bakkster

      August 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      With BoP, there’s nothing to say it has to run the same weight as the Ligier. The Mazdas are still lighter than the Ligier, for instance.

      That said, the reason it isn’t running this year is surely because HPD hasn’t paid anyone to do so. Who’s going to buy a car that’s about to become obsolete?

      • David Chaste

        August 18, 2016 at 12:29 am

        No one has to buy the car. Honda could have just paid a team to run it. If they were sure they had a sure fire contender they would have done it.

  4. Keith G

    August 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

    I love all the race engineers and key board tuff guys on this site. Makes me laugh.

  5. Douglas Baggett

    August 22, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I like the sloped windshield

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