ContiSafetyDays 2013: a track day to test Continental’s “5” range.
Just like every other year, Continental invited tyre experts to come and test its latest products. In this case, test the “5” range, with the ContiEcoContact 5, ContiPremiumContact 5 and ContiSportContact 5. The track day was held in the Paris area, on the Mortefontaine test track. For this 5th edition of the ContiSafetyDays, four different workshops focusing on safety were organised: Tyre pressure, dry and wet braking, rolling and 4x4 trail.
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The ContiSafetyDays have become a privileged meeting place for Continental and tyre experts. This day of track tests gives Continental the opportunity to highlight its latest products featuring technological advances and raise the awareness of specialised journalists and bloggers to vehicle safety topics.
This year, Continental invited us to the Mortefontaine track in the Paris area, to test its “5” range, comprising the ContiEcoContact 5, ContiPremiumContact 5 and ContiSportContact 5 tyres. To appreciate the performance of its tyres, the manufacturer organised four workshops around the following topics: Tyre pressure, wet and dry braking, rolling and 4x4 trail.
Tyre pressure workshop
To demonstrate the importance of driving with correctly inflated tyres, the instructor asked us to follow a circle drawn on the road at a constant speed of 40 km/h (25 mph).
>> Correctly inflated tyre: Once the correct steering angle is found, the vehicle’s trajectory follows that of the circle drawn on the ground.
>> Tyres with a pressure deficit of 0.5 bar: The steering wheel needs to be turned regularly to keep the right trajectory.
Vehicle:Clio IV RS
We first put the tyres through the wet braking test. The ContiSportContact 5 proved responsive and delivered high levels of safety. An opportunity for us to repeat that at 90km/h (56 mph), for a tyre rated A for this criteria (according to European tyre labelling), braking distances are 6 metres shorter than that of a B-rated tyre.
We then moved to a special setup used to recreate an emergency braking situation. Driving at almost 90 km/h, we arrive at a junction where, at the last minute, a visual signal tells us whether to turn left or right. The result is convincing: Only a few meters are required to brake and drive round the obstacle with precision and manoeuvrability.
We left the Clio IV RS for two vehicles with very different temperaments: A racing car (Caterham R300) and an electric car (Volvo C30).
The Caterham R300 is a racing car built for the track. If has no electronic driver assistance or braking assistance systems: Perfect to test the intrinsic performance of a tyre! Even at high speed, the Caterham proved both responsive and precise when cornering and changing direction. Here, the ContiPremiumContact 5 reveals its full potential.
Vehicle:Volvo C30 electric
After the sporty test, we continued the rolling workshop with an electric vehicle. We climbed behind the wheel of a Volvo C30 fitted with ContiEcoContact 5 tyres. Needless to say that after the rip-roaring Caterham, the change was radical. Indeed, the 100% electric vehicle is extremely quiet. Engineers have worked hard to make rolling noise the least intrusive as possible.
For this workshop, two SUVs (Hyundai ix35 and a Hyundai Santa Fe) and a 4x4 (Isuzu D-Max) were lined up.
With its road tyres, the result is unavoidable; the Hyundai ix35 loses grip and traction as soon as the terrain becomes a bit tougher. Above all, this exercise aims to show us the importance of fitting this type of vehicle with suitable tyres if we want to venture of the beaten track.
Vehicle:Hyundai Santa Fe
However, the Santa Fe fitted with all-terrain tyres (ContiCrossContact LX) can easily drive over obstacles. It delivers excellent grip on both muddy and rocky tracks.
Finally, we got down to business with the Isuzu D-Max fitted with ContiCrossContact AT tyres (winner of the Gazelle Rally). We negotiated steep banks and slopes, crossed rocks …The tyre is safe and fulfils its role. The grip gives stability when negotiating slopes and on all ground types (stones, mud, gravel…). Both adaptable and robust, the tyre absorbs bumps on the track and effortlessly crosses any obstacles.
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