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Continental Eying Global Sports Car Expansion
- Updated: December 1, 2016
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.