Continental Tire introduced its newest ultra-high performance (UHP) tire, The ExtremeContact Sport, in February of this year. And in a new twist, the ExtremeContact Sport was tested to the limits by five championship-winning race car drivers. The next generation of the ExtremeContact DW, is a dynamic, UHP street tire built for car enthusiasts and engineered for extreme grip in dry and wet conditions.
“We took our knowledge from the track to the street in a whole new way with the ExtremeContact Sport,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. “We chose five of the best sports car drivers in the world to help deliver the performance driving enthusiasts demand in a tire. These drivers pushed our tires to the limits to help develop a tire that includes superb dry handling while not sacrificing any of Continental’s award-winning performance in the wet. This summer tire is ideal for sports cars and sport and luxury vehicles.”
To help develop a tire that car enthusiasts would love, Continental called upon five of the top drivers in International Motor Sports Association’s (IMSA) top series, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Three-time IMSA champion and five-time Rolex 24 Hour winner, Andy Lally; back-to-back IMSA champion, Joao Barbosa; Continental Tire SportsCar Series champion and two-time World Challenge champion, Lawson Aschenbach; Rolex 24 Hour winner, Ozz Negri; and 24 Hour of Le Mans winner, Rolex 24 Hour winner and WEC champion, Ryan Dalziel, all brought their A-game when it came to the development of the ExtremeContact Sport.
It took three years to develop this tire with the drivers coming in at the half-way point. The first round of testing was done at Road Atlanta following the 2015 Petit Le Mans race. Once the drivers provided feedback to the Continental engineers, a second round of testing was scheduled for Continental’s Uvalde Proving Grounds in March of 2016. The drivers tested various iterations of the ExtremeContact Sport along with the current ExtremeContact DW and competitive tires in dry and wet conditions, in addition to testing for handling, braking, and noise and comfort. So why were IMSA drivers chosen? Easy, combined, the five drivers have over 120 years of racing experience!
“Being able to push a tire to its limit, while still leaving enough bandwidth inside your brain to evaluate and give feedback to the tire engineers is exactly why race car drivers are good for tire development,” said Lally. “I’ve had over 20 years of racing experience working with hundreds of different types of tires and each of those experiences contributed to this project.”
Barbosa added, “As a race car driver, over the years, you accumulate experience and develop feelings that help you make the right decisions. You know how hard to push a tire and how you expect them to react. That’s how I tested the ExtremeContact Sport. With my experience I helped the engineers follow a direction with information I had from the different types of tires we’ve tested on the track.”
To provide the most robust UHP tire possible, Continental applied the science of its SportPlus Technology to the ExtremeContact Sport. Designed for precise handling; security on wet, slippery roads; and excellent tread life, SportPlus Technology has helped improve this tire over its predecessor, the ExtremeContact DW, in several categories. Improvements that the five professionals could definitely feel.
“It’s what I want to have on my car carrying my family,” sited Negri. “The tire has good grip all around, wet and dry. Very predictable, very forgiving, and has the sporty feeling as well as that comfortable ride. It’s the best!”
And when it came to wet handling Dalziel commented, “It’s great in all conditions but it blew me away just how good it reacted to wet and slippery conditions. To me, finding a tire that can be used in dry and wet conditions with the occasional trip to the race track is very hard to find but that’s exactly the strength of the new ExtremeContact Sport.”
Another marquee feature of the ExtremeContactTM Sport are Continental’s Tuned Performance Indicators. This award-winning technology has made Continental a number one choice among consumers by giving drivers an extra measure of confidence. The D (Dry) and W (Wet) letters in the tread indicate the tire’s optimal performance levels in dry and wet conditions.
So, in the opinion of a professional driver, what should consumers be looking for in a tire? According to Dalziel, “Safety, drivability, value for the money and I think performance are key areas for consumers, and in that order. The ExtremeContact Sport more than checks all those boxes. I don’t think there is a better comparable tire on the market.”
Aschenbach also chimed in by saying, “This tire is for the consumer who is looking for extreme, yet forgiving, performance. The ExtremeContact Sport will provide you everything you’re looking for to grip the road (and track) like a professional.”
The ExtremeContactTM Sport is backed by one of the strongest warranty programs and service contracts in the industry, the new Total Confidence Plan. Under the plan this UHP tire has a 60-day customer satisfaction trial (or 2/32” of treadwear) and 12 month road hazard coverage (or first 2/32”) as well as a 72-month manufacturer’s limited warranty program. Also included is a 30,000 mile limited mileage warranty and three-year flat tire roadside assistance (or towing up to 150 miles). The ExtremeContactTM Sport comes in 71 sizes, including 17 new sizes, ranging from 15” – 20” wheel diameters with a W and Y speed rating.
Tell us about your experience driving on the ExtremeContact Sport tires @continentaltire using #Track2Street.
How much fun was the development process? Check out our outtake reel!