NUTS & BOLTS
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (P, PC, GTLM & GTD) – May, 6, 2017
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (GS & ST) – May 5, 2017
Circuit of the Americas (CoTA) – 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – 2:40
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – 2 hours
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship –P teams will be allotted 10 sets of tires (including dry and wet tires), PC 7 sets, and GTD teams will receive 7 sets.
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – there is no set limit for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
WHICH TIRE ARE THEY USING
Continental Tire has designated Blacks as the dry tire to be raced at CoTA. If teams move to wet tires, the P and GTD classes will move to Blacks. This is the same tire that teams are currently scheduled to run at all other tracks (Daytona is the lone exception).
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races the same compound at all tracks in 2017.
CONTINENTAL BY THE NUMBERS
- 3,300+ - Number of tires brought to the track (dry and wet) for both series.
- 1:58.616 – That was the fastest lap time set by Joey Hand in Prototype competition in 2015 at CoTA. Last year saw Ricky Taylor top the P charts at 1:59.721 a mere four laps into the race. Will teams be faster in 2017?
- Double or Triple – Four new tires were gold last year at CoTA, although teams have not ruled out potentially double stinting at least two tires on a stop depending on track conditions this year.
- 80’s & 30-50% - Temperatures are set to be in the 80’s at CoTA with humidity coming in at 30-50%. Right now there is a 0-10% chance of rain but the weather changes quick in Texas. Conditions should be cooler than last fall which saw temperatures reach 96 degrees on race day with 90% humidity.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Why Nitrogen? – Unlike passenger car tires*, race teams use nitrogen to inflate their Continental tires. Why you might ask? Here are a few reasons we think you will find interesting:
- In its pure form, nitrogen has been used primarily because it doesn’t support moisture or combustion.
- Nitrogen is an inert (non-flammable) gas – basically, nothing more than dry air with oxygen removed. In fact, ambient air contains about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% miscellaneous gas.
- Because of nitrogen’s inert properties, it is often used in highly specialized tire service applications and/or demanding environments. These tire service applications usually include aircraft, mining, and commercial/heavy use and of course in IMSA where extreme vehicle speeds are involved.
- Dry nitrogen is used in this regard to help reduce tire pressure variations where even small differences in pressure can affect vehicle handling at the extreme limits of performance.
*Disclaimer: Passenger car tires are now starting to use nitrogen. Click here for a few tips to help you know if nitrogen is right for you. Or visit continentaltire.com for more details.
FROM THE DRIVERS SEAT
**For full transcriptions of our round table, please click here for WTSC.
TRACK CHARACTERISTICS - WTSC
Dalziel: There is such a mix of very high speed corners in the first half followed by a very slow second half of the track. So knowing whether to run high or low downforce is tough. The more downforce you run, the slower you are on the long straight but you’re faster in the corners with better tire wear. So the key is working hard on the mechanical grip of the car so you’re gentle on tires and can run less downforce than your competitors.
Balzan: CoTA is one of those tracks that has all kinds of corners - from a first gear corner like T1 to 5th gear corner like the esses. In our GTD class Ferrari 488 GT3 we have ABS and traction control, which means that in every corner from the braking to the exit we are always at the limit of what the tires can do.
TIRE MANAGEMENT - WTSC
Dalziel: In the past it's been very tough to double stint four tires at CoTA but with the new Continental tire from this year being very durable that may change. If we can, you may see some people changing only two tires to gain track position.
Balzan: Last year there was a big gain using new tires, but it will be very important to see what the weather will bring and work from that. CoTA is a really demanding track on tires but I see opportunity to double stint tires depending on fuel strategy.
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