IMSA Tire Strategy Finalized
July 31, 2013 | 3:45 P.M. EST
The International Motor Sports Association has signed a multi-year agreement with Continental Tire for the inaugural United SportsCar Racing season.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has signed a multi-year agreement that will make Continental Tire the exclusive supplier in three classes during next year’s inaugural United SportsCar Racing season.
Starting with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, Continental’s exclusivity will extend to the new series’ Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes. The GT Le Mans (GTLM) category will be open to multiple tire manufacturers.
Continental Tire also will return as title sponsor and exclusive supplier of the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, a developmental series currently sanctioned by GRAND-AM Road Racing. Starting next year, the CTSCC and United SportsCar Racing will run under IMSA sanction, resulting from the merger of GRAND-AM, IMSA and the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón.
"Our team has worked hard over the last several years to bring competitive, action-packed racing to sports car fans at every track we visit," said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. "We're thrilled to continue our commitment to IMSA; and all the manufacturers, teams and drivers in 2014 and beyond."
"This is a proud day for the future of United SportsCar Racing as we solidify a partnership that already has roots in both GRAND-AM and the ALMS," said Ed Bennett, who will serve as chief executive officer of IMSA. "In solidifying this partnership, we're also introducing the important element of stability across three classes in United SportsCar Racing and the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Continental Tire’s partnership and support, vital to the business of the ALMS and GRAND-AM this season, will be even more so in 2014 and beyond."
Continental will use its exclusive racing tire from the ExtremeContact line and will continue to provide full, first-class at-track support for all United SportsCar Racing and CTSCC events. As part of the agreement announced Wedneday, Continental Tire will receive logo placement on cars and will continue trackside activation via hospitality, signage, event entitlements and other marketing initiatives. It'll also support the series off the track through a variety of promotions, marketing events and television.
Continental Tire debuted as the title sponsor and exclusive supplier for the CTSCC in 2010. In 2011, the global company became the Official Tire of GRAND-AM as well as the exclusive tire supplier to both the CTSCC and the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Also carrying over to United SportsCar Racing from the ALMS is the open-tire specification for what will be the GTLM class. Plans for additional tire manufacturers to compete in the manufacturer-based class will be announced as relationships are finalized.
"The GTLM class is based on the same Automobile Club l’Ouest specifications as the GTE class internationally," said Scot Elkins, vice president of competition and technical regulations for IMSA beginning next season. "This class is largely home to automotive manufacturer teams who desire flexibility in creating tire partnerships to develop technologies in racing that eventually find their way to the streets. In many cases, these are mutually beneficial partnerships that have been developed and nurtured over several years."