SEMA 2019: Continental Extreme Contact Sport at Extreme Experience

Continental Tire is to Germany what Pirelli is to Italy, and its latest offering is the flagship Extreme Contact Sport tire, capable of almost the impossible. The Ultra High-Performance (UHP) summer tire offers all of the road manners one would expect from a premium tire company. But, by integrating technology from the Continental competition slick tire, it offers that much more for street driven performance cars.

To demonstrate what the tire is capable of, Continental Tire brought out loads of product to the SEMA Show 2019. Instead of just showing them off, it decided to burn off multiple sets at the Extreme Experience, where we were able to witness the abuse of 600hp BMW M5s full of passengers on the proving grounds.

“We tested this tire alongside our competition tires,” says Southwest Regional Manager, Brian Smith.  “The Extreme Contact Sport has SportPlus technology from the racing tire, most notably the rigid insert in the sidewall to make it super stiff.”

With that, Smith decided to usher us into a BMW M5 rather than ramble on about specs, numbers, and features of the Extreme Contact Sport. Our BMW M5 was from the BMW Performance Driving School at Thermal Raceway right in our very own desert backyard of the Power Automedia headquarters. The instructors said they teach on this same tire fitted to various BMWs and trust it for its grip, predictability, and naturally, a healthy amount of tread life.

Not like any driver (or passenger) at the SEMA Extreme Experience cared about tread life because these 340-AA-A wear rating tires were also being drifted up in smoke clouds, and the team was going through a lot of them. “We are burning about 96 tires a day here at SEMA,” Smith stated. “So, although we can drift the tire unleashing 600hp, the Extreme Contact Sport offers great dry and wet grip, high-performance driving grip capabilities, and can be taken to several track days a year.”

For those looking for a tire they can use in the warmer months and a handful of track days per year, the Extreme Contact Sport is up for the challenge. The SportPlus technology means it has a harder durometer (hardness rating) material sidewall-stiffener insert, so it resists flex and won’t roll-over, prematurely wearing out the edge of the tire at the track. The 86-percent sidewall-stiffness increase over the previous Extreme Contact DW tire translates into only 6-percent increased ride stiffness, making it just as comfortable too.

As the official tire of the BMW Performance Driving school held at BMW Performance Center on Thermal Raceway, the Continental Extreme Contact Sport has heavy demands placed on it — daily. This is a hot, fast track, and these cars are pushed all day to train the students in various high-performance driving techniques.

Being in the dry, Palm Springs region doesn’t mean that the tire isn’t subjected to wet weather conditions either, because the track gets wet every day — albeit artificially with a hose — as part of the performance driving course. It is safe to say that a tire that lives its whole life on a track is more than ready for the demands of most drivers.

If you’re in the market for a summer ultra high-performance tire that can manage the odd track day, the Continental Tire Extreme Contact Sport with SportPlus technology is one tire worth a closer look.

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About the author

Dave Pankew

Dave has been a gearhead forever and bought his first car at only 15. Since then he has owned, built and raced over 60 cars, turning his obsession into a career becoming Editor-in-Chief of a tuner magazine nearly 20 years ago.
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