Earlier this year I took part in the One Lap of America, a combination road rally / track event that takes competitors on a 3500 mile journey to some of the best racetracks in the United States. This event will test not only your stamina and endurance but every single part on your car. It’s long, it’s tough and it’s probably the most fun you’ll have on four wheels. When prepping the car for this event one of the biggest decisions that I had to make was tire choice. I needed a max summer performance tire that could handle the rigors of 9 days of hardcore track duty, 3500 miles of open road and perform well in both the wet and dry. In the past I’ve run Nitto NT555’s, Goodyear Eagle F1’s, Michelin Pilot Sports and Michelin PS2s. These were all good tires but each one had some inherent drawbacks.
In my search for tires I had heard about the new Continental Extreme Contact DW but when I purchased them back in April there was very little in the way of reviews. The limited information that I did find however painted the tires in a positive light and since I’d already run on multiple other brands I decided to give the new Conti’s a try. Continental lists the Extreme Contact DW as a tire that:
Delivers excellent traction and responsive handling in both wet and dry conditions, improved ride comfort, all while delivering better mileage at industry leading rolling resistance levels.
I purchased the tires, had them mounted and proceeded on my 8 day 3500 mile run. Our first day was a 700 mile run from NY to Indiana, the first 200 miles of which was in the pouring rain. Being my first experience with the Extreme Contact DW’s in the wet, I was excited to see how they would perform. Right out of the box I could tell that these tires had an advantage over anything I’d previously run. They were confidence inspiring and dissipated road water with flying colors. There were times that we would run through standing water at speed, times when I felt certain that the car would hydroplane. The Extreme Contact DW’s however handled the wet with ease, in fact they were so confidence inspiring in the rain that I had to constantly remind myself to back out of the throttle as we were running.
As the pavement dried out I was finally able to experience the normal road going manners of the Extreme Contact DW. The first thing I noticed was that the road noise was much less with the Conti’s than with the previous Nitto NT555’s I had mounted. The other thing I noticed was that the DW’s tended to soak up bumps better as well. Gone were the abrupt shutters that I would feel with previous tires while going over potholes, bumps and road imperfections and when you do as much driving as I do little things like this make a big difference.
My first real test of the tires on the race track came at Hallet Motor Speedway in Jennings, OK. Keep in my that my car is 4000 lbs. so finding a tire with a nice stiff sidewall that still performs and gives a compliant ride is a big deal. On the track the tires were fantastic. Gone was the wicked tire squeal that I had become accustom to with the Nitto’s and gone was the almost instantaneous wear that I received from my Michelin PS2s. Keep in mind now that the Continental Extreme Contact DW in 265/40/18 is a $236.00 tire. Compare that to $352.00 for a Michelin PS2 in the same size and these tires start to make a lot more sense. The other thing I noticed was that lap after lap the Extreme Contact DW’s never faded. Traction was always consistent, they never got greasy and when pushed to the limit they gave enough feedback to let you know what was going to happen.
All in all I would HIGHLY recommend the Continental Extreme Contact DW tires for anyone who sees a mix of everyday driving, interstate cruising and weekend track day fun. Quite honestly, for the money I don’t think there is a better tire on market.