With the new SportContact 6, Continental is continuing its successful range of high-performance tires. The new high-tech product from the development department in Hanover is now available for purchase. Forty-one dimensions are being produced for rims with diameters of between 19 and 23 inches. The new super sports tire is particularly suited to pure sports cars such as the Audi R8 or Porsche 911 as well as very sporty vehicles such as the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes AMG. The range also includes a suitable tire for the electrically powered Tesla S. Continental expects this high-performance market segment to become increasingly popular with customers and is anticipating annual market growth of just under 10% for the various sizes of the new SportContact 6. The new high-tech tire has already received its first seal of quality: Honda has approved the tire for the new Civic Type R before its official release and achieved a lap record on the Nordschleife at the Nürburgring
Success story: The SportContact tire range
The first high-performance “ContiSportContact” tire was released for sale in 1994. As was usual at the time, it emerged from the hot press in sizes of between 13 and 20 inches. It was soon a firm favorite with tuners and vehicle manufacturers alike. For example, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Abt, and Hartge used the sports tire in their top models ex works. But the tires were also a hit with end users. It was therefore seven years before a successor – the ContiSportContact 2 – was required. Today, the tire industry expects shorter product cycles because progress made in R&D is quickly passed on to motorists through new developments. All “ContiSportContact” tires have proven successful: In addition to a number of test successes in the trade press, Continental’s first-class products have racked up over 250 approvals from vehicle manufacturers and tuning specialists. Since then, performance parameters for high-tech tires are not the only thing to have improved significantly – the new SportContact 6, for example, has been consistently approved for up to 350 km/h – and dimensions have also increased. The latest addition to Continental’s high-tech tire family is available for rims with diameters of 19 to 23 inches.
“UHP” market segment with growth rates of almost 10%
While the European tire market is relatively stable, the high-performance segment can expect its “UHP” products to present good opportunities for growth. Continental forecasts suggest that tires in the now sought-after sizes for rims of between 17 and 18 inches will rise by around 5% each year until 2020, and the tire manufacturer expects this segment to reach a volume of around 37.3 million by 2020. Demand for tires with diameters of between 19 and 23 inches is expected to increase even more: An average of 9% is expected each year, equating to 7.5 million tires in 2020. A closer look at the forecasts shows that the larger the tire, the greater the growth. The expectation is for 19-inch to increase by 8%, 20-inch tires by 10%, while experts assume that tires with diameters of 21 inches or more will rise by 14% each year. This means that demand in this segment would almost double by 2020.
Continental expects the new SportContact 6 to achieve good approval levels not just from motorists, but also from vehicle manufacturers. At the moment, around one third of new vehicles from European car manufacturers roll off the production line with Continental tires. Although original equipment customers expect a lot – particularly in the EU – the technicians in Hanover are optimistic. They are encouraged by initial approval received even before the market launch. Honda is already equipping its new Civic Type R with the SportContact 6 ex works, allowing it to set a new record on the Nordschleife of the legendary Nürburgring.