Continental Demonstrates Tire Stress Testing Process
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UVALDE, Texas — Continental on June 20 hosted a test drive involving a Class 8 truck and sports cars to demonstrate how its tires handle various road conditions.
The ContiXperience provided a firsthand look at how the company stress tests its tire products through live demonstrations at its Uvalde Proving Grounds. The location includes several track courses that can simulate a range of conditions from wet asphalt to off-road. Media members in attendance could test the tires themselves on some courses.
“We strive to go to the market, not only as a tire manufacturer, not only providing the tire, but providing full services around the tire,” said Carolina Wagner, marketing director of commercial vehicle tires. “The digital monitoring related to the tires, the tire technology, the retread ability, the sustainability behind that — this is all part of what we call the package; this is all of our offerings these days.”
The wet-handling driving section showcased how retreaded tires would handle water over the road using a Peterbilt Model 567 sleeper truck. The section included a braking lane as well as an open course measuring 15 acres across, both of which used a sprinkler system to simulate wet conditions.
Continental started with a demonstration involving the truck going 50 mph and then suddenly stopping in the braking lane. The company said that earlier tests showed that a retreaded ContiTread HDL 3 LTL-R had a better stopping distance at 57.175 meters than a new tire from a competitor at 57.625 meters. Attendees then tested how the tires handled by driving and braking in wet conditions on the open course.
The Dodge Charger (left) had Conti ExtremeContact Sport 02 tires, and the Ford Mustang was outfitted with General Tire G-Max 02 tires during the dry-handling test on a 1.07-mile course. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics)
The dry-handling test also put reporters behind the wheel so that they could get a feel for how the Conti ExtremeContact Sport 02 and General Tire G-Max 02 tires handled normal road conditions. The asphalt course is 1.07 miles and features a 1,200-foot straightaway alongside several turns and bends. The Sport 02 tires were tested with a Dodge Charger, and the G-Max tires were tested with a Ford Mustang.
“I think if you go through one of these turns at about 77 max speed, you get close to about 0.8 Gs, so it could be pretty entertaining to say the least,” said Steven Barnes, product manager for technical systems. “We have a Mustang and a Charger … They are running our G-Max RS on the Mustang, and the Charger here is running our Conti ExtremeContact Sport.”
The track configuration was designed to simulate normal subjective handling from on-center feel, lane change and slalom standpoints. But the tires did their job during the test drive, with each reporter able to hit the corners and take the straightaway without running off the track.
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“For our Mustang here, they do have the best-in-class wet handling and wet braking and shred wear,” Barnes said. “With the extreme contacts, these things grip a little better. They have the superior dry and wet handling, and they have the exceptional tread life.”
The off-road riding course afterward highlighted the traction and performance of Terra HD3 tires using a Ford F-450. The course mostly consisted of dirt and rocky roads but included several sharp turns and inclines. Reporters were driven through the course by a professional driver.
“We built this for a customer that we had to do a lot of side-by-side testing with,” said driver Enrique Ruiz while on the off-road course. “So they did a lot of high-speed stuff on here. They were hitting about 83 miles an hour on this course on the side-by-side, and they needed specific jumps, so we built them some jumps.”
A Peterbilt Model 567 doing a curb test. (Connor D. Wolf/Transport Topics)
Continental also included a short demonstration of one of its curbing tests. That involved a Peterbilt Model 567 day cab driving down a straightaway that had multiple elevated concrete ledges to simulate the truck going over a curb. The truck was equipped with Continental HSC 3 11R22.5 and HDC 3 11R22.5 intelligent tires, which appeared to take the course without difficulty.
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