Continental Tire Prepares for First Official Rolex Series Test

DANVILLE, Va. – With the off-season bringing a myriad changes of teams, drivers, and cars that traditionally happen between racing seasons, there will be a wide range of new variables in play next week as preparations for the the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season kick off with testing at Virginia International Raceway.

Both Turner Motorsports' BMW M3 and Continental Tire will be moving from the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge to the Rolex Series in 2011.

Not only will the two-day test give drivers the chance to try out new machines and teams putting new drivers through their paces, the test will also see the teams get the first opportunity to hit the track and work on getting up to speed as GRAND-AM has approved a wide range of changes to the technical package employed by the Rolex Series teams.

The test is open to race fans at $10 per day, with tickets available only at the gate.
While the new rear wing end fences, new innovations in differentials, and a variety of other changes will have the engineers hard at work, the biggest change on display at the challenging natural terrain road course in rural Virginia could well be the series’ move to Continental Tires for both the Daytona Prototype and Rolex Series GT classes. Starting with the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Continental Tire is the official and exclusive supplier of tires for the Rolex Series.

Continental Tire made a successful entry into the GRAND-AM ranks in 2010 as the Official Tire for GRAND-AM’s Sports Car Challenge, which featured a championship battle that went down to the very last lap of the season. Continental Tire capped a remarkable first season of GRAND-AM participation by crowning the champions of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with a banquet event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame last weekend.
Just like the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the Rolex Series utilizes a two-class structure with the sleek Daytona Prototype class taking to the track alongside the GT Class.
Continental Tire has been working with GRAND-AM since March to prepare for the 2011 season, hosting a number of successful tests with select teams, with the VIR test marking the first opportunity for the full field of Rolex Series competitors to work with the new Continental Tire.

“We have learned a lot through the tests we’ve already held and we’re looking forward to continuing that process next week at VIR,” said Travis Roffler, Continental Tire Marketing Director of Marketing. “There is a lot of preparation that goes into an event like this, as we get ready for 2011 and this will be a great way for everyone to get ready for Daytona and the rest of the year.”

From bringing more transporters to supply both the Daytona Prototype and GT class machines to growing several promotional outreach initiatives, the move to the high-profile Rolex Series will see Continental Tire grow its presence in North America’s most competitive road racing category as the race is on for 2011.
The two-day session at VIR will precede another test on December 1-2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with the Roar Before The Rolex 24 slated for January 7-9, 2011.

“I’m looking forward to the test because we have so much to learn about the new Continental Tires,” said Michael Shank Racing driver Ozz Negri. “The faster we can see what the tires like with the set-ups, the sooner we can have our plan-books ready for the new season with this new tire. It’s exciting for everyone because we have seen how much effort they put into the Sports Car Challenge Series and so we know it will be another exciting year for us in the Rolex Series. It is the same for everyone of course because it is new to all of us, so it is like another race for everyone to get as much data and information and keep doing our homework to be ready to go at Daytona.”

The two-day test will open with a drivers briefing on October 19 and is slated to feature two days of running for both the Daytona Prototype and GT class machines.

source http://www.grand-am.com/

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