DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) has named Continental Tire the Americas the exclusive tire supplier for the Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series beginning in 2017.
IMSA's "multi-year" contract with Continental replaces a deal Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. had with the race sanctioning body for the former Mazda Prototype Lites racing series for the past eight seasons.
The Prototype Challenge series combines two classes—the new Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) and the revamped Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC)—which will run together on track but which will have separate championships.
"We're honored to increase our partnership with IMSA to include this series, and we look forward to showcasing our abilities on a global platform like the Prototype Challenge stage," said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Conti.
There will be a dry and a wet compound provided to competitors in each class at each race, Conti said. The tires will be part of Continental's ExtremeContact line of tires, similar to those used in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
"IMSA continues to enjoy a strong and mutually productive partnership with Continental Tire," said David Pettit, IMSA vice president, marketing. "We appreciate Continental increasing its already deep commitment to our sport through this new agreement."
The IMSA PC is a blend of new and existing machinery. The LMP3 class will feature two-seat, closed-cockpit chassis from as many as six different constructors, all powered by identical V8 engines.
The MPC class will continue to use the open-cockpit Elan DP02 chassis, which will be powered by Mazda engines that previously comprised the Lites 1 class of the series. The Prototype Lites L2 class cars will no longer be eligible.
The 2017 schedule includes 13 rounds starting with two rounds at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., March 17-18. Nine of the 13 rounds will take place during IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekends, with most event weekends comprising a pair of 45-minute sprint races.
Conti has been a partner of IMSA since 2010 when the company was a title sponsor of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Since that time, Continental Tire was chosen as the official tire of IMSA and exclusive tire supplier for the Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.