The International Motor Sports Association and Continental Tyre have reached a multi-year deal which makes Continental the exclusive tyre supplier for three classes during the inaugural United SportsCar Racing season.
The deal will begin with the curtain-raising Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Prototype, Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes, while the GT Le Mans class will be open to multiple tyre manufacturers.
Continental Tyre will also return as the title sponsor of the Sports Car Challenge, a developmental series currently sanctioned by Grand-Am Road Racing. From 2014, both the Sports Car Challenge and United SportsCar Racing will be run under IMSA sanctioning, following from the merger of Grand-Am, IMSA and the American Le Mans Series.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of United SportsCar Racing, the Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge and the future,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tyre. “Our team has worked hard over the last several years to help bring competitive, action-packed racing to sports car fans at every track we visit. And we are 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,” added Ed Bennett, who will serve as chief executive officer of IMSA. “And in solidifying this partnership we also are 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.”
The Open tyre specification for the GTLM class will be carried over to United SportsCar Racing from the ALMS, with plans for additional tyre manufacturers to compete in the manufacturer-baced class to be announced as deals are finalised.
“The GTLM class is based on the same ACO (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.”