Continental Tire hosted four GRAND-AM teams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to test their new tire configuration for the upcoming July 27 race.
Indianapolis, IN - June 12, 2012. Continental Tire hosted four Rolex Series teams at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway today to test their newest tire configurations, the DP-I and GT-I (I standing for Indy). The test marked the second time Continental Tire put their tires to use on the 2.605-mile, 13-turn stadium road course.
"The Continental Tire team has worked extremely hard to develop a tire that will allow all the GRAND-AM teams to perform at their best at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. "It's an honor to be able to showcase our tires at such a historic race track. We've been testing the tire and working with the teams and GRAND-AM to help give the fans the best show possible during Super Weekend in July."
Because the Indianapolis road course hasn't been run on since September, the teams arrived to a "green" track on Tuesday. Memo Rojas was the first Ganassi driver to make a full fuel run in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. Following his run Rojas, who is also the Rolex Series points leader, stated, "It is pretty obvious that the track hasn't been run for a while." He continued, "The track, like you said, is pretty green. It takes a little bit to put rubber on the track. Regardless the tires have been pretty consistent as far as lap times.When you have a green track the tires slide around more so we're expecting once there are more cars on the track the performance of the tire and the durability should be pretty good."
The two Daytona Prototype (DP) teams that tested were the No. 01 Ganassi BMW and the No. 99 Gainsco Corvette. The No. 51 APR Audi and the No. 88 Autohaus Camaro took to the track on behalf of the Grand Touring (GT) class. While the road-course portion of the track didn't take rubber, the team's continued with the test session and three teams ran full fuel stints in the afternoon session with track temperatures reaching over 120 degrees Farenheit (the No. 51 APR team had a part failure in the morning session and didn't test in the afternoon).
Overall, Continental Tire officials were able to collect good data and are looking forward to the upcoming GRAND-AM open test at the Speedway on July 6 and 7 when they have more cars on track to help lay more rubber down, specifically into the road-course portion of the course. Today's participating driver's echoed that sentiment following the afternoon session.
"It's pretty typical, it's just an incredibly green track right now and it's good that Continental's here at least getting some sense of where we're at and what we need to do," said veteran driver and point's leader Scott Pruett following the test. "The tire wear is significantly high but that's to be expected because of this green track it's something that we saw when we came here in 2009 and tested, the wear was quite high. At the moment we only have four cars going around the track and when we come back I've got to believe that we'll have 60 cars or more depending on the Continental and the Rolex so that's going to make a significant difference."
The driver of the No. 99 Gainsco Corvette, Jon Fogarty, reiterated the what a challenge today's track conditions were saying, "It's gone pretty well." He continued, "It's important that Continental Tire come out here and verify the product that they have. The diamond ground banking here is notorious for being tough on tires so they want to make sure they have a tire that's going to put on a good show and we're working towards that and making progress so it's great to be out here and be able to do that."
This specific configuration was also slated to race at Homestead-Miami Speedway back in April but rain forced teams to change to rain tires for the actual race. It was also just announced last week that the DP cars would race the new DP-I configuration at the two upcoming Watkins Glen races.