I tested the ContiPremiumContact 5 on a Caterham R300
To test its latest premium tyre, Continental had a surprise in store for us. Rather than fit the tyre on an upmarket saloon, vehicle for which it is intended, the tyre manufacturer allowed us to test it on a legendary roadster: A Caterham R300. Result of the test: The ContiPremiumContact 5 passes with flying colours.
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Usually, tyre tests for the ContiPremiumContact category follow a well set pattern: Everyone meets at the track, generally in a Southern European country, with a range of honed saloons, preferably German: BMW, Audi and others… The challenges and positioning of tyres requires that the themes discussed are in line with the user’s expectations of target vehicles. This time, Continental decided to do the complete opposite and asked journalists to test the tyre in very different conditions…
The meeting was held at the Mortefontaine road circuit, in the Oise region. There was neither a BMW nor Audi in sight, but a … Caterham R300. This famous roadster is considered as the apotheosis of sports cars. Completely dedicated to performance, it comes with a 2.0 L Ford Duratec engine delivering 175 hp and has an exceptionally low weight of just 535 kg. This excellent power to weight ratio is fully exploited by an effective but rustic chassis, with no driving aids: No Abs, or braking assistance, or power steering let alone ESP!
Objective: Test the ContiPremiumContact 5 without any filters
The test was carried out in several stages. We started with exercises where we had to deal with emergency braking situations, evasive manoeuvres, slaloms … It is impossible to compare this car-tyre assembly with anything we know! One thing is certain: It works to perfection, to form a coherent and consistent whole.
Next was the test on the Mortefontaine track, used by several car manufacturers. It reproduces all situations that can be encountered on the road: Bumps, poor road surface, banked corners, etc. Lined with trees, rocks, concrete pillars and rails, leaving no room for errors ... Especially with a car like the Caterham where passive safety is close to zero.
Once behind the wheel, we appreciate the ContiPremiumContact’s ability to contain the ardour of the car as it comes out of corners. An undeniable advantage linked to the quality of the compound, but also the oversized tyres (205/55 R17). The car offers neutral handling as it moves through corners, which is consistent with the tyre’s positioning. Of course, if we push it to the limit, it lacks precision, but this can be forgiven.
To conclude, the ContiPremiumContact 5 left us with a very positive impression, even although we would like to have tested it in normal conditions as well.
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