As I said earlier in the article, when brand new, the DW’s dry grip wasn’t that far off a PSS for a couple laps before the tire severely degrades. In real-world conditions after multiple laps and sessions, the DW’s performance drops off significantly and is nowhere near a PSS even half way through a normal on-track session. The new Sport is in a completely different league in terms of dry grip and especially durability. The new Sport and PSS are so close that in order to back up Continental’s claim, I would need to properly back to back a brand new set of each tire on the same day to draw a proper conclusion.
Having tracked and daily driven many sets of DWs, PSS, and now the Sport, I can say with confidence that the ExtremeContact™ Sport is definitely in the same league as the PSS in terms of response, grip, and durability. Continental’s goal was to produce a tire that could go head to head in performance and for some people would consider a better tire (than the PSS), especially in the wet. I think they accomplished that goal.
Post-Track Tire Wear of the OLD ExtremeContact DW:
The ExtremeContact™ DW did not hold up that well to PBIR’s abrasive track surface. At PBIR, 1 session on these tires would be similar to 2-3 sessions on most other tracks. The DW’s outer shoulder took a lot of punishment due to its soft sidewalls as the tire rolled over. The little tread blocks deflected and squirmed under heavy track use and quickly overheated which further increased tire wear. The middle rib took a lot of abuse and its outer edge was mostly worn off. Even the next inward rib also wore away a good amount of the rib’s shoulder indicating a lot of carcass deflection.
Post-Track Tire Wear of the NEW ExtremeContact SPORT:
By comparison, the new ExtremeContact™ Sport held up far better than the DW with identical laps and track conditions. The large outer shoulder wore more evenly and didn’t overheat from excessive deflection, while the inner continuous ribs didn’t tear off the corner and remained more durable due to the improved tread compound and carcass design that gives the tire a more even footprint. The Y-shaped sipes on the inner rib maintained its integrity in the dry and did not show signs of deflection and excessive wear. Overall the new Sport is a far more durable track tire than the old DW.
Overall, Continental did a great job with the all-new ExtremeContact™ Sport. The DW was a great tire but left too much on the table in terms of steering response, precision, and on track durability that wasn’t made up for with its superior hydroplaning resistance and wet grip abilities. After all, customers of these Ultra-High Performance tires like to drive their sports cars and sedans on twisty roads and occasionally on track, and that’s where the response of a sporty tire is crucial. While at a higher price point than the DW, the PSS was just a better all-around tire that often justified paying more for.
With an 86% increase in handling stiffness, 20% increase in tread life, and only a 6% increase in ride stiffness from the DW, the ExtremeContact™ Sport is now an option that has no real drawbacks to the PSS, is claimed to have better wet traction and hydroplaning resistance, and comes in at a more affordable price point.
In addition, Continental’s commitment to the community of older generation sports cars that utilize smaller tire sizes ensures that those enthusiasts won’t be left behind and will be able to have current tire technology for their beloved (almost) classics.
Well done, Continental.