January 30, 2010: Continental Tire, which in December signed a deal to become title sponsor of the Grand-Am Road Racing Sports Car Challenge, said it would expand its partnership with the racing circuit by becoming the official tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, starting with the 2011 season. Financial details were not released.
Continental will make its official Rolex Series racing debut at the 2011 Rolex 24 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida next January. Over the next 12 months, Continental Tire and Grand-Am said they would conduct a series of testing "allowing the development of the tire technology to enhance the level of competition for their official Rolex Series racing debut" in January 2011.
The 12-race 2010 Rolex Series season begins Jan. 30-31 with the Rolex 24 at Daytona and runs through the weekend of Sept. 10-11. All races are aired live in the U.S. on Speed TV and are distributed globally by ESPN International. The Rolex Sports Car Series features both purpose-built Daytona Prototypes and the production-based GT division in which cars such as Porsches, Ferraris, Mustangs and Mazdas compete.
Other Grand-AM marketing partners include Sunoco, Coca-Cola, Toshiba, SunTrust Banks and Crown Royal.
"Continental Tire was selected through a stringent evaluation process to be official tire of the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2011, and we are excited that they are expanding their current partnership with Grand-AM Road Racing," Kevin Hindson, vp-marketing and communications, Grand-AM Road Racing, said in a statement. "Continental Tire's display of its commitment to motorsports tire technology can only enhance the already-high level of competition of the world's premier road racing series."
According to Bill Caldwell, vp-sales and marketing for Continental Tire, "[We are] committed to being a leading force in the motorsports community, and becoming the official tire of the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is part of that strategy. The Rolex series is one of the most highly-regarded racing series in the U.S., and will be a perfect format to emphasize the capabilities of our Continental ExtremeContact ultra-high performance tires. We are honored and excited that Grand-AM has selected Continental to partner with them as the official tire of this series."
Continental in January also signed a deal to become an official sponsor and the exclusive tire of Major League Soccer, which complements the company's position as a marketing partner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.