Glaeser said the tire maker specifically focused on fitting vehicles such as the Mazda Miata, Audi, BMW and Porsche that are popular with performance car enthusiasts who drive daily but may enjoy an occasional day on the track.
"If anyone wants to chase car clubs with the product," Glaeser told dealers, "know that you can go chase them, knowing confidently you are going to be able to fit them."
Glaeser said Conti engineers quickly identified the traits they wanted to improve versus the tire's predecessor.
"For us, that was clear: dry handling, crispness, responsiveness," Glaeser said. "Overall, we want to be an incremental step for the next generation. That was our goal, the number one thing people are going to care about."
The ExtremeContact Sport02 delivers up to one second faster dry handling lap time, according to test results conducted at Conti's Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas.
"When you drive race cars, being one second faster means you're 100 feet ahead of the person behind you," Glaeser said. "That's quite a bit. If you're going on a longer track, (that distance) could be more, it could be less."
Glaeser said the tire delivers overall wet grip as well.
Keith Noble, regional manager for Black's Tire & Auto Service, witnessed that performance on the track, calling the product "definitely everything that Continental advertised it to be. During the test, it most certainly out-performed the competition in wet and dry conditions."
Noble said the tire exhibited "fantastic grip in and out of corners in the varying conditions being tested. The SportsPlus Technology that Continental has put into the design of the tire makes it elite."
Another key feature of the tire is the tuned performance indicators: D and W symbols embedded in the tread.
When the W is worn down (at 4/32nds-inch tread depth), the tire no longer delivers optimal wet performance; when the D is worn down (at 2/32nds-inch tread depth), it's time to replace the tire.
"This tire, so we don't have to fiddle for a penny, tells you when it's time to replace it," Glaeser said.
The tire also is backed by Conti's Total Confidence Plan, which includes a 30,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. That warranty drops to 15,000 miles if the tire is driven on a staggered-fitment vehicle.
While pricing was not disclosed, Conti said MAP price position would be slightly lower than three of its Tier 1 competitors.
The tire will be manufactured at Conti's European plants, which supply much of the UHP product worldwide.
"There might be a lot of good tires in the segment," Glaeser said, "but as an overall package, this tire is an example of how we believe we deliver value to you."
Noble said the tire has lived up to its promotion and marketing, competing against other options in the market.
"The added bonus that the tire comes with a 30,000 mile manufacturer warranty and predominant UTQG rating of 340 AAA is a rarity in the UHP segment," he said.
"This tire will do well in the metro markets and in our locations where the consumer has more options to purchase higher priced vehicles and luxury models. The tire will do well with the UHP enthusiasts."
Travis Roffler (left), director of marketing, and Bjoern Glaeser, product manager for performance tires, pose beside Conti's new ExtremeContact Sports 02.