DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2010) — Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) is taking over the role of official tire of and race tire supplier for Grand-Am Road Racing's Rolex Sports Car Series starting next year, making Conti the official tire of all of Grand-Am's racing activities.
Grand-Am's deal with CTNA replaces a three-year agreement Grand-Am has with Pirelli Tire North America Inc. that is expiring at the end of this season. The Grand-Am Rolex series features prototype racing cars and grand touring-type sports cars competing in both sprint and endurance races.
Financial terms of the agreement, announced prior to the start of this weekend's 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race, were not disclosed.
Continental earlier agreed to sponsor Grand-Am's production-based racing series — now called the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge — and become the series' race tire supplier.
“The Rolex series…will be a perfect format to emphasize the capabilities of our Continental ExtremeContact ultra-high-performance tires,” said Bill Caldwell, vice president of sales and marketing for CTNA.
“Continental Tire is committed to being a leading force in the motorsports community,” Mr. Caldwell said, “and becoming the official tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series is part of that strategy.”
Grand-Am put Conti through a “stringent evaluation process,” said Kevin Hindson, vice president, marketing and communications for Grand-Am, without elaborating.
Neither Conti nor Grand-Am said whether the deal was for more than one year, nor did Conti specify how it will supply the race tires. For the Conti Sports Car Challenge, Conti is having its motorsports technology partner Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. manufacture the tires.
Conti and Grand-Am will test throughout the 2010 season to develop a competitive tire that will debut at the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona next January.
Separately, CTNA said Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York has made Conti its official tire in connection with Conti's agreeing to sponsor the track's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge races June 6-7; the race will be known as the Continental Tire 150.
Conti and Grand-Am also announced that Conti has agreed to fund the 2010 Continental Tire Pacesetter Program for teams competing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The Pacesetter Program offers cash rewards for team owners in both the Street Tuner (ST) and Grand Sport (GS) classes. The top seven teams in both classes will be eligible, provided they participated in every 2009 event, Grand-Am said.
In addition to cash prizes, the teams also will enjoy the opportunity to get primary choice in pit box selections, transporter parking during race meetings, and front-of-the-line tech inspection opportunities.