By IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 13 marks the end of an era as it wraps up Continental Tire’s current run as the exclusive tire for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
IMSA’s partnership with Continental Tire dates to 2010 as the official tire and title sponsor of the then-GRAND-AM Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. In 2011, Continental became the exclusive tire of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and the partnership continued when GRAND-AM merged with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in 2012.
In 2013, the final ALMS season, Continental Tire became the exclusive supplier for the series’ Prototype Challenge (PC) class. When the merged WeatherTech Championship launched in 2014, Continental Tire became the exclusive supplier for three of the four classes – Prototype, PC and GTD. When the PC class was discontinued at the end of the 2017 season, Continental Tire was the exclusive supplier for the Prototype and GTD classes for the 2018 WeatherTech Championship.
With one race left to run, let’s take a look at the most successful drivers on Continental Tires from the WeatherTech Championship, the GRAND-AM Rolex Series and the ALMS.
1. Tie – Jordan and Ricky Taylor – 19 wins
Brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor are tied atop the list of all-time winners on Continental Tires even though they’re not currently sharing the same car. In fact, only 12 of their 19 wins came as co-drivers. Ten of Jordan’s victories came from two seasons – 2013 and 2017 – when he won five races and the championship each year. Ricky was one win behind Jordan until May’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, when he and new co-driver Helio Castroneves scored the first victory for Acura’s new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) program for Acura Team Penske.
3. Joao Barbosa – 14 wins
The two-time WeatherTech Championship Prototype champion and four-time Tequila Patrón Endurance Cup winner has had a great run on Continental Tires. Included among Barbosa’s wins are a pair of Rolex 24 At Daytona victories – in 2014 and 2018 – and additional crown jewel victories in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and Motul Petit Le Mans, both in 2015, and four Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen victories (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017).
4. Tie – Max Angelelli and Scott Pruett – 13 wins
A pair of sports car legends share the same number of wins on Continental Tires. All of Angelelli’s on Continentals came with one or both of the Taylor brothers, including his final win – the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona – which he shared with both of them as well as NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon. Pruett – the winningest driver in IMSA history with 60 career victories – achieved significant career milestones on Continental rubber, including his fourth and fifth Rolex 24 victories in 2011 and 2013, the last of which moving him into a tie with Hurley Haywood for first on the all-time Rolex 24 overall winners list. Pruett’s 60th and final win also came on Contis at Circuit of The Americas in 2015. He also won two Rolex Series championships during the Continental Tire era in 2011 and 2012.
6. Tie – Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and Memo Rojas – 12 wins
A trio of drivers share the No. 6 slot with longtime co-drivers Bennett and Braun alongside two-time Rolex Series champion Rojas. All of Rojas’ wins and championships came as co-driver of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Daytona Prototype in the Rolex Series alongside Pruett.
The win ticker on Continentals for Braun and Bennett started in 2013 in the ALMS PC class and carried into the WeatherTech Championship. Ten of the 12 victories came in the PC class – including wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen – and the most recent pair came in the 2018 WeatherTech Championship Prototype class. Braun also holds the Daytona International Speedway all-time speed record with a lap of 222.971 mph on a Continental-shod, Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley Daytona Prototype prepared by Michael Shank Racing set in 2013.
9. Dane Cameron – 11 wins
Cameron’s wins came in three different classes: Rolex Series GT (one in 2012), WeatherTech Championship GTD (four in 2014) and the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class in which he’s won six times since 2015. On top of the race wins, Cameron also has a pair of WeatherTech Championship titles, the GTD crown in 2014 and the Prototype title in 2016.
10. Tie – Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating, Christian Fittipaldi, Robin Liddell and Renger van der Zande – 10 wins each
It’s a five-way logjam for the final spot on the top 10 list of winners on Continental Tires. Three of the five – Bleekemolen, Keating and Liddell – have scored all 10 of their wins in GT cars. All of Fittipaldi’s wins came alongside Barbosa, with whom he also shares a pair of WeatherTech Championship Prototype titles and four straight Patrón Endurance Cups. The bulk of van der Zande’s wins – nine – came in the PC class in which he also won a WeatherTech Championship title in 2016. His lone Prototype win came at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca courtesy of a thrilling, late-race pass on Cameron at the top of the track’s famed Corkscrew turn with less than five minutes left in the 2017 race.