For several reasons, this weekend at Road Atlanta will be monumental for those participating in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season finale.
Not only will season champions be crowned across the series’ three classes following Friday’s Fox Factory 120, but it also marks the end of an era for the entitlement partner Continental, which has sponsored the series since 2010.
Over the last eight years, the Continental Tire Challenge has flourished as a series with action-packed racing, up-and-coming drivers battling for victories with sports car veterans, and unparalleled manufacturer participation featuring the newest automotive technologies.
Ahead of the season finale and as a nod to the brand’s “Continental Tire Celebrates You” campaign, which was announced in January with the intention of celebrating IMSA’s fans, media, drivers and teams throughout its final season, Continental Tire Challenge drivers are, in return, voicing their appreciation and thanks for their longtime entitlement partner.
Plumb currently competes with Compass Racing in the GS class. With 23 Continental Tire Challenge victories, Plumb is tied with Billy Johnson for the most wins by a driver in the series. Plumb was also crowned the 2013 GS class champion.
“Continental Tire and their involvement in the IMSA series has coincided with some of my greatest moments in motorsports. I will certainly miss the brand, as well as all of the folks that I had the pleasure of working with over all these years from the company. They certainly made an everlasting mark in motorsports that won’t be forgotten.”
Pumpelly, the 2016 ST class champion who currently competes in GS with RS1, has 14 victories in the Continental Tire Challenge and is in a tie for second with Plumb for winning at the most venues (12).
“Continental’s involvement in our series has been a huge benefit to the drivers, teams and fans alike. Continental has provided one of the most consistent and durable tires I’ve ever raced on.
“That combined with a good level of grip and flexible setup window has been a big reason we’ve seen such great racing in both the WeatherTech and Continental series. Continental’s fan engagement and initiatives have helped grow our sport.
“They are leaving big shoes to fill as far as how they engage inside and outside the world of racing.”
Long, also with Compass Racing, is currently in a battle for the first TCR championship in the Continental Tire Challenge. Road Atlanta will mark Long’s 100th start in the series.
“It’s been incredible to have Continental Tire a part of IMSA sports car racing for so long. The support and dedication they have provided has been unparalleled.
“The many fond memories I’ve had with Continental Tire through the years, whether it was on the racetrack or at their proving grounds in Uvalde, Texas, will always stay with me.”
Pombo has been a leader of the MINI JCW Team since the manufacturer first joined the Continental Tire Challenge in 2015 and co-drove to MINI’s first two victories in the series last year. The series has also been a family affair for Pombo, as one of his MINI JCW teammates is his brother, Mark.
“I’ve been running Street Tuner since 2010 and have only ever raced on Continental tires. I’ve raced them on Mazda’s, Kia’s, Porsche’s, and MINI Coopers over those years and can only say how awesome the tires have been.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have multiple wins and podiums with multiple Continental Tire winners’ hats in my trophy room that I will cherish over the years.
“Their partnership has been amazing. I look forward to the final chapter of the ST class and Continental Tires this weekend at my home track at Road Atlanta and hope we can close it all out with a win in our No. 73 MINI JCW. It would be so special on many levels in front of my home crowd.”
A longtime competitor in the Continental Tire Challenge paddock, Cosmo currently competes in the GS class with Team TGM. Cosmo won in his 2003 series debut at Mont Tremblant in the STI class and the following race at VIR.
“Continental Tire has probably been the most significant racing and series partner I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my years in sports car racing.
“Many have come and go, but Continental’s level of commitment and time spent in IMSA has surpassed them all. They put forth such a strong effort to support our industry, promote our world to the general public and develop great tires for both racing and consumer use – they really left their mark.
“Quality, consistency and commitment will forever be the way I remember our time with Continental. Sincere thanks go to Continental Tire for all they have done, for all of us. I wish them the best of luck and continued success in their future endeavors.”
Hindman owns the 2014 GS class championship and has recorded victories in three different marques – BMW, Porsche and Ford – during a six-year tenure in the series. Hindman currently competes with VOLT Racing in GS.
“Although I only started competing in ‘Conti’ about mid-way through their decade of participation, it’s difficult to imagine calling this championship anything different. Continental Tire has shown a level of support for racing that is pretty unheard of.
“Their efforts have given me, along with quite possibly hundreds of drivers, an opportunity and a platform to grow our careers in motorsport. I think that all of us drivers and teams that have competed in the CTSC over the years owe everybody at Continental Tire a massive debt of gratitude, as they had developed the Conti series into one of the best to compete in, as well as creating some of the most thrilling door-to-door racing on the planet.”
Cooke will be seeking his 40th top-10 finish in the Continental Tire Challenge this weekend at Road Atlanta with BimmerWorld Racing in GS. After kicking off his career in the series in 2012, Cooke’s first career win in the Continental Tire Challenge came the following year at Road America in the ST class.
“Continental Tire has been a part of the series since I first started. It has always been a tire you know by looking at the logo. I’ve gotten to know and develop great relationships with many people in the company.
“They’ve always treated their drivers great with supplying tires both on the track and off. They’ve always built a great tire that has made the racing close and action filled.
“I will miss seeing their tire around the paddock, but I thank them very much for all the love and support they’ve given the series.”
All of Foss’ six victories in the Continental Tire Challenge have come in the familiar orange Murillo Racing machine, in which he currently competes in GS. Foss is only one of eight drivers to have multiple championships in the series, claiming the 2014 and 2017 ST titles.
“Continental Tire has been amazing to work with the last several years in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge both on and off the track. I even use their street tires on all of my personal vehicles. They will be greatly missed in the paddock.”