Continental Tire Fast Facts - Road Atlanta

Thursday, October 5, 2017

WHO’S RACING: 

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (P, GTLM & GTD) – October 7, 2017

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – October 6, 2017

TRACK:

Road Atlanta – 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course

LENGTH: 

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – 10 hours

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – 2 hours

TIRE SETS

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship –P teams will be allotted 23 sets of tires (including dry and wet tires) and PC and GTD teams will receive 19 sets.

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – there is no set limit for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

WHICH TIRE ARE THEY USING

Continental Tire has designated Blacks as the dry tire to be raced at Road Atlanta. If teams move to wet tires, the GTD class will move to Blacks. This is the same tire that teams are currently scheduled to run at all other tracks (Daytona is the lone exception).

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races the same compound at all tracks in 2017.

CONTINENTAL BY THE NUMBERS

  • 5850+ - Number of tires brought to the track (dry and wet) for both series.
  • 1 – The No. 38 Performance Tech PC machine is one race away from a perfect season. With six pole awards and six wins, they are certainly #1 heading into Petit Le Mans.
  • 3 in 3 – There have been three different Prototype winners in the last three Petit Le Mans races. Michael Shank took honors in ’16, the No. 5 Action Express in ’15, and the Wayne Taylor Racing car in ’14.
  • 337 – The average number of laps completed by the winning Prototype at Petit Le Mans. The average is brought down drastically due to a rain-shortened race in 2015 which only saw 199 total laps complete versus 400+ in ’14 and ’16.
  • 5 – In the last three years, Porsche has claimed five podium spots at Petit Le Mans including a win with Park Place in 2015.
  • 5 – In the last three Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races at Road Atlanta, Ford is the only repeat winner between the GS and ST classes. 2016 saw Ford (GS) and Porsche (ST) win; 2015 placed BMW (GS) and Audi (ST) on top of the podium; and in 2014 it was Ford (GS) again along with Honda (ST).

DID YOU KNOW?

Continental Tire Announces ExtremeSpirit Award Winners – Continental Tire is set to present the second-annual Extreme Spirit award at the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship banquets this weekend. The award will be presented to one winner in each of the five classes Continental Tire provides the spec tire. Nominations were accepted from the paddock then voted on a panel of the winner’s peers which included last year’s winners.

The recipients of the Extreme Spirit award have demonstrated great respect for fellow competitors, sponsors, track operators, officials, media, and fans throughout the 2017 season. They act as ambassadors for IMSA on and off track and show an ability to accept victory with humility and defeat graciously. They also display the positive qualities of sportsmanship and have a commitment to excellence that is second-to-none. Their on-track performance speaks for itself while their off-track efforts are revered. The 2017 winners are:

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

  • P – John Church, owner No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2
  • PC – James French, driver No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09
  • GTD – Ben Keating, driver and owner of the No. 33 Team Riley Mercedes-AMG GT3

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge

  • GS – CJ Wilson, owner No. 33 & No. 35 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4s
  • ST – Jeff Mosing, driver No. Murillo Racing Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman

ROUND TABLE?

**For full transcriptions of our round table, please click here for Road Atlanta.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Renger Van Der Zande, driver of the No. 90 VisitFlorida Racing Ligier LMP2

The track is uphill, downhill - there is everything in it - but what makes it especially challenging is the traffic. There needs to be a good combination between the classes to work together. For example in Prototype when you approach Turn 3 and exit Turn 3, whether the slower cars give us room or not is a big thing. You cannot take the room. You really have to make sure that they see you and that when you get to the corner, you’re not going to touch because it will end up in a big one. So for me the biggest challenge is to get through traffic in a good and safe way. It’s easy to wreck a car in the first hour when everybody is still getting used to the traffic. You will see more aggressive and smoother passes toward the end of the race because people will understand each other better between the classes.

Jeroen Bleekemolen, driver of the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3

It is the third longest race of the season. All classes are out there, so it's busy on track. You need to get to the end with a car in good condition to be able to fight for the win. Furthermore, the track changes a lot during the race. You start in the morning when it's still cool and not too much rubber on the track yet. It gets hot later in the day, and then you finish in the dark with pretty cold temperatures and a lot of rubber on track.

TIRE MANAGEMENT

Renger Van Der Zande, driver of the No. 90 VisitFlorida Racing Ligier LMP2

It is an important one of course, but on the other hand we will have new tires every stint which means you want to run all the hours and get to the finish with new tires every stint. But at the end of the race, like we did at Laguna Seca, there is a good chance that you can opt for only two new tires in order to jump forward in position and stay at the front. Tires are important because at the pit stop, if you want to short fill (on fuel), you want to have no loss of time on the tire change. If you change four tires, that takes more time and you’ll lose time on track. So that’s an important one especially toward the end of the race - especially during the final 1.5 hours. Track position in the last hour is important and you don’t want to give it away. Also, you should not forget how much we change tire pressures. For example if the air temperature is maybe going down into the night, we have to go up with our tire pressures. To adapt as a driver and team together making the pressures work for the changing conditions plays into the tire strategy as well.

Jeroen Bleekemolen, driver of the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3

With our pit stop rules we can change the Continental tires at the same time as the refueling. That means we pretty much always change to new tires because you don't lose any time. Maybe in the end of the race you might decide to keep the same set of tires on because they are hot and it makes you faster on the out lap.

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