Here is some interesting racing news that doesn’t directly affect Corvette Racing, but anytime a racing series makes a change in a major sponsor, it’s worth taking note. According to Continental Tires, the decision to not renew the sponsorship was made by IMSA despite the tire manufacturer offering a significant increase in their sponsorship investmemt.
The release we received this morning from Continental Tire says they will be exiting IMSA at the end of the 2018 season:
Ft. Mill, S.C.; September 20, 2017 – At the end of their International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) contract term in 2018, Continental Tires sponsorship of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Prototype Challenge series will come to an end. After submitting a proposal for a multi-year extension, that included a significant increase in investment, IMSA has chosen not to extend the partnership. Continental Tire will remain a partner through the 2018 season and supply tires for those series’.
Over the past eight years, Continental Tire and IMSA/GRAND-AM have enjoyed a great partnership. Since 2010, Continental Tire made a considerable investment to develop and produce race tires that fit IMSA’s specifications. In addition, Continental Tire has invested substantially to help grow sports car racing in the U.S. with a focus on fans through various marketing activities.
“We are extremely proud of the contributions we’ve made to sports car racing in the U.S.,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing of Continental Tire the Americas. “We worked diligently to continue our support of IMSA, and the growth of the sport, and are disappointed in IMSA‘s decision to go a different direction. We remain committed to making the 2018 IMSA season a fantastic year for the fans, drivers, and all the teams.”
Roffler continued, “The relationships we’ve built over the years are many, and we thank everyone for their continued support of the Continental Tire brand. We also want to thank the fans. Without you, there would be no racing.”
SportsCar365.com says the Continental Tire contract was signed back before the ALMS/Grand-Am merger and that Michelin, Goodyear, and Pirelli have entered into discussions with IMSA to become the exclusive tire provider for the entire WeatherTech Championship series for 2019 and beyond.
The racing website goes on to say that Michelin may have the inside track on the contract. A Michelin spokesperson deferred to IMSA when asked about the negotiations.
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