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Continental Eying Global Sports Car Expansion

Contiental Tire eyeing global expansion following Hoosier acquisition…

Photo: Continental Tire

Photo: Continental Tire

Continental Tire could expand its involvement in sports car racing across Europe and Asia, following its recent acquisition of Hoosier Racing Tire and new global prototype and GT racing platforms coming to the forefront.

The global automotive company, which serves as a long-term partner of IMSA and tire provider for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and newly announced Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series, is looking to have a greater focus in motorsports in Europe, potentially with its line of newly developed sports car racing tires, according to Continental Tire’s U.S. director of marketing Travis Roffler.

“Hoosier had its plans to move into Europe and obviously now with Continental, those are going to get accelerated around the globe,” Roffler told Sportscar365.

“Having platforms like GT3, GT4 and LMP3 that are globally homologated and raced all over the world, if we can prove that car here on that tire, other areas around the world where that car is run, Conti all of a sudden becomes in the conversation about being active in those areas on those cars.”

Continental, which announced its acquisition of Hoosier in October, has developed an all-new tire designed specifically for the global LMP2 platform, which remains an open-tire category in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series next year.

It also is the single-tire provider for the GT3-spec GT Daytona category in the WeatherTech Championship, as well as the entire Continental Tire Challenge series, which will begin accepting SRO GT4-spec machinery for the GS class next year.

The tire manufacturer also announced a deal this week to become the exclusive supplier for the newly named Prototype Challenge series, which be headlined by LMP3 cars, another global platform.

Continental currently has a limited presence in European sports car racing, having previously supplied tires for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux series, something that Roffler sees potentially changing.

“We didn’t buy a motorsports tire company for not to get active in motorsports across the globe,” he said. “Hoosier was already moving that way, but with our platform and our brand, we’ll be able to accelerate that movement faster.”

A specific timeframe has not been established and is likely to include other forms of motorsport, as Hoosier currently offers tires for nearly all racing platforms, including karting, road racing, stock cars and drag racing.

Roffler said its targeted global expansion may not entirely be under the Continental brand, with the company now owing Hoosier and also General Tire, which has been active in off-road racing.

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. Duhe

    December 1, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Conti will have to prove they can build a tire that isn’t complete crap compared to everything else if they want to enter a series with open tire rules.

    • slow

      December 1, 2016 at 9:44 am

      You realize the only reason, and they’ve stated this for 3 years now, that they didn’t offer a tire that worked with the P2’s was because IMSA told them to make a single tire…. Which meant it had to be a tire that could withstand the abuse of a DP for an entire stint, especially since the DP’s outnumbered the P2 cars substantially within IMSA.

      Or are we just going to ignore all that..

    • PowderedToast

      December 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Ya think??

  2. Keith

    December 1, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Hahaha! Really? There isn’t a team over there that will use that crap as tire. The way they develop their tires in Europe is way different then here.

    • slow

      December 1, 2016 at 9:46 am

      I guess we’re just going to ignore logic and facts.

      Pro tip one of those “euro” P2 tire manufactures are owned by Americans…

  3. kevlow

    December 1, 2016 at 11:56 am

    I don’t think there is a problem with Conti being able to or having the technology to build a competitive tire for international competition. The P class tires were built for the DPs. The tires for the GT classes and the Conti series only had to meet the requirements [price and performance windows] laid out by IMSA.

    Clearly there are other brands with performance characteristics that many drivers prefer and can run lower times. There are also tires that drivers say have less fall off.

    Conti/Hoosier will design a compound to meet the demands of the new market if they wish to remain in that market.

    Currently they have designed a tire that meets the needs of their customer, IMSA. Up till now they have not been given a reason to change or improve the product.

  4. NaBUru38

    December 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    ACO is tied wih Michelin and SRO with Pirelli. There’s not many options left for Conti. Perhaps VLN?

    • Thomas

      December 1, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Except for Dunlop at ACO events…

  5. Thomas

    December 1, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Bring on the Conti sprint car tyres

  6. Joel

    December 1, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Sounds like Continental’s going…

    *puts on sunglasses*

    …Continental.

    YEAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

  7. Jeff Wagner

    December 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Build a tire the non GTLM IMSA teams would CHOOSE to be on first before expanding.

  8. Troll Me

    December 1, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    People who associate themselves with an inferior company are also inferior.

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