DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The International Motor Sports Association is switching tire suppliers for the various sports car road-racing championships it organizes throughout North America. Michelin North America Inc. was picked to take over in 2019 from Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C.
The multi-year agreement with Michelin, starting with the 2019 season, covers the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and its two major affiliated challenge series, the Michelin SportsCar Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda.
The deal replaces a supply agreement IMSA has had with Continental since 2010 and runs through the end of the 2018 season. Conti said IMSA chose not to extend their partnership after Conti had submitted a proposal for a multi-year extension that included a significant increase in investment.
"The significance of this expanded partnership with Michelin, one of the world's most recognized premium brands, cannot be overstated," IMSA President Scott Atherton said.
"IMSA has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Michelin, and we are proud to confirm this long-term agreement," he said. "Our expanded partnership with Michelin—which also enjoys strong relationships with many of our participating automotive manufacturers—will be a catalyst for accelerating the growth of the WeatherTech Championship and IMSA as a whole."
The deal calls for Michelin tires to be on every Prototype and GT Daytona race car competing in the WeatherTech Championship, while the GT Le Mans class will be open to multiple tire manufacturers, IMSA said. Michelin has been that class's sole supplier the past few years.
The IMSA Michelin SportsCar Challenge, which will replace the Continental SportsCar Challenge, will feature the Grand Sport (GS) class for cars built to international GT4 specifications and Touring Car class for TCR-spec race cars. The IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda, featuring LMP3 race cars, also will ride on Michelins.
Atherton said IMSA is "extremely grateful for the role Continental Tire played in helping to grow our racing platforms throughout our partnership dating back to 2010.