DAYTONA, Fla.—Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. is now part of a world speed record after the Federation Internationale de I'Automobile approved two closed-course speed runs set Oct. 9 by Grand-Am Racing team Michael Shank Racing at the Daytona International Speedway.
Shank Racing, in partnership with Ford Racing, Roush Yates Engines, Continental and the International Motor Sports Association, set records for both the 10-kilometer and 10-mile speed records from a standing start, hitting 203.01 mph and 210.02 mph, respectively, with team driver Colin Braun behind the wheel of the 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6-powered Daytona Prototype.
The speed runs break the 34-year-old records held by Hans Liebold, who drove a Mercedez-Benz turbo to speeds of 199.1 mph and 208.32 mph, respectively, at the high-speed oval in Nardo, Italy.
Conti engineered a tire specifically for this project, based on the ExtremeContact dry race tire used throughout the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Series by the DP class competitors. The tire used for the record-setting run is lighter and has less rolling resistance than the standard race tire and is a harder compound than the tire used for a typical road course race, Conti said.
Conti's race tires are manufactured by Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. at its Plymouth, Ind., plant under a contract dating to 2009.
Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire, called the achievement a "mark of distinction" for Conti, the team and other partners. "Our team worked hard to develop a tire that would sustain the loads placed upon them at those speeds on the high-banked oval…."
Braun also clocked a single, fast-lap time of 222.97 mph to break the track record of 210.36 mph set by NASCAR driver Bill Elliott in 1987.
Conti also participated in a speed-record attempt in October at the Nardo circuit, sponsored by the German automotive weekly Auto Bild.
At that event, 14 top-class European tuners set five new speed records using street-legal Conti high-performance tires:
• Swiss tuner Novidem recorded a speed of 205.2 mph with its version of the Nissan GT-R, running on ContiSportContact 5 P tires;
• HGP from Ohmden's Golf 3.6 Biturbo clocked 204.6 mph on ContiSportContact Vmax tires;
• Klasen Motors' 550-hp Opel Corsa compact hit 191.6 mph, alson on ContiSportContact Vmax tires;
• MTM claimed a record for the fastest diesel as its 410-hp Audi A8 Biturbo and a speed of 186 mph running on ContiSportContact 5 P tires; and
• Berlin-based tuner TH Automobile set a record for campers when its 580-hp Volkwagen T5 Camper posted a lap of 167.4 mph—without even bothering to remove the fitted kitchen.