Continental pride themselves on safety, and their tyres often win ‘best in wet’ performance in tyre tests. This means while sometimes they're not be the most dynamic tyres on the market, they always safe due to scoring highly under wet and dry braking tests.
With this in mind, Continental's take on the track day market was never going to be a straightforward affair. Track day tyres are designed for maximum steering precision, which can often lead to a nervous balance, and they target ultimate dry lap time, which often leaves important safety criteria such as wet braking and aquaplaning resistance compromised.
The answer? The Continental Force Contact - an 'extreme performance' tyre. This category of tyre sits above ultra-high performance and maximum performance tyres, which are the sort of tyres fitted to fast road cars, but below the track day segment due to a slightly more rounded approach to extreme performance. Think of an extreme performance tyre as a tyre you can hit with maximum attack on track, but you don’t have to be worried being caught in the rain on the way home. Perhaps the perfect compromise.
So, how does the tyre achieve its unique blend of performance? Developed with some of the world’s leading tuners such as AC Schnitzer and Techart, the tyre features a macroblock design, which when combined with the wide circumferential grooves in the middle of the tread gives an excellent steering response plus the ability to evacuate water, meaning aquaplaning is less of an issue for the Continental tyre. This same feature, along with the black chilli compound technology also gives the tyre excellent traction, braking performance and grip in both the wet and dry.
Our first experience with the Continental Force Contact was on a Jaguar F-Type, wearing 255/35 R20 front tyres and 295/30 R20 on the rear, around the sunny roads of Malaga. To say the tyre delivered on its promise is an understatement. The Jaguar F-Type is a highly capable vehicle on any tyre, but on the Force Contact it really came alive. The front tyre offered immense steering precision, communicating exactly what was happening during corner entry, while the rear was eager to play with plenty of feedback at the limit of grip during corner exit. The overall grip levels of the tyres were higher than a normal road tyre, and the steering loaded up nicely as you reached the limit of grip.
Sadly we didn’t get any wet running with the tyre, but looking at the data from other group tests the Force Contact offers a strong performance when compared directly to its rivals.
Is the Force Contact a tyre you’d use on a vehicle you drive every day? Probably not. But it is a tyre you can use confidently on a second fast road / track car, without panicking at the first sign of rain.
If you’re lucky enough to be ordering an F-Type in the near future, make sure you consider these tyres, which are available as a factory upgrade option!