Continental Tyres Partners With National Adventure Race Series

Paul Mahon, Outfront Events, second from left, and Tom Dennigan, General Sales Manager, Continental Tyres Ireland, with adventure athletes, from left, Padraig O'Connor, Kelly Farrell, Laura O'Driscoll, National Champion, and Bernard Smyth
Paul Mahon, Outfront Events, second from left, and Tom Dennigan, General Sales Manager, Continental Tyres Ireland, with adventure athletes, from left, Padraig O'Connor, Kelly Farrell, Laura O'Driscoll, National Champion, and Bernard Smyth

Continental Tyres, the leading German premium tyre manufacturer, is the new title partner of the Irish National Adventure Race Series in conjunction with Series founders Multisport Adventure Ireland and promotion partner Kayathlon.

The initial one-year partnership will debut at the sold-out ‘Quest Kenmare’ adventure race along the Wild Atlantic Way on 2 March, concluding with the ‘Sea2Summit’ race in Westport, Co. Mayo on 9 November.

Adventure Racing is an increasingly popular, outdoor multi-sport event that includes running, cycling and kayaking in some of Ireland’s most rugged and scenic terrains. Events are open to experienced competitors seeking an endurance challenge, as well as novice participants looking to set a personal goal or team challenge.

The National Adventure Race Series was established in Ireland in 2011 by Multisport Adventure Ireland, giving participants an opportunity to compete for national titles. The series offers a selection of top-quality adventure races around Ireland, offering a variety of challenges based on strict criteria. The races include some new localised events plus more established races such as the renowned Gaelforce West and Quest Series events.

The Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series offers participants an opportunity to become overall champion by achieving the most points which are taken from their top five events in their respective categories.

Paul Mahon of Multisport Adventure Ireland, founder of the National Adventure Race Series said: “We’re really happy to have Continental Tyres on board as title partner of this exciting series. Continental is a premium brand with a commitment to high performance, and they bring a level of expertise and profile that we hope will help to promote this emerging sport.

“Adventure Racing is the perfect sport for Ireland’s spectacular and diverse landscape,” says Mr Mahon. “For participants, it’s all about endurance and preparation, including having the right equipment – an area in which Continental excels.”

Speaking at today’s launch, Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland, said: “This partnership is a really exciting new venture for us. Continental is about more than just cars: we also produce bicycle tyres and have a partnership with Adidas to develop premium rubber soles for trail and running shoes.

“All our products, including our premium car tyres, are focused on offering premium grip and safety for challenging environments,” Mr Dennigan says. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to dive into a sport that relies as heavily on grip as adventure racing does. We can’t wait for our first taste of this exciting sport in Kenmare on 2 March.”

To celebrate the new partnership, Continental Tyres is giving National Adventure Race Series participants an opportunity to win a range of additional prizes including bike tyres, Adidas trail and running shoes with Continental outsoles and some Advance Pitstop vouchers.

To find out more about the Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series, go to www.msai.ie  or www.kayathalon.ie or follow the progress at Continental Tyres Ireland on Facebook and Instagram.


David Thomas, Managing Director of Volvo Ireland, accepting the Irish Car of the Year 2019 award for the Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 Wins Irish Car Of The Year 2019

David Thomas, Managing Director of Volvo Ireland, accepting the Irish Car of the Year 2019 award for the Volvo XC40
David Thomas, Managing Director of Volvo Ireland, accepting the Irish Car of the Year 2019 award for the Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 has won the title of Irish Car of the Year 2019 at a gala event in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

Motoring journalists from print, online and broadcasting hosted the Irish Car of the Year 2019 Awards in association with Continental Tyres, with the event attended by Ireland’s leading car brands, importers, distributors and other motoring dignitaries.

The XC40 scooped the top prize from a field of 9 eligible category winners including the new Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen Touareg. All new cars launched on the Irish market in the last 12 months are eligible for the awards, with 33 jurors, including this writer, voting in this year's competition.

The aim of Irish Car of the Year is to signpost the best new cars in a number of categories to guide Irish consumers looking to buy a new car. For a full list of the categories and contenders in this year’s competition, check out our new site at www.caroftheyear.ie.

There were also a number of categories winners as follows:

Ford Focus - Irish Small / Compact Car of the Year 2019

SEAT Arona - Irish Small Crossover of the Year 2019

Volvo XC40 - Irish Compact Crossover of the Year 2019

Skoda Karoq - Irish Medium Crossover of the Year 2019

Volkswagen Touareg - Irish Large Crossover of the Year 2019

Mercedes Benz CLS - Irish Executive / Premium Car of the Year 2019

Ford Fiesta ST - Irish Hot Hatchback of the Year 2019

BMW M5 – Irish Performance Car of the Year 2019

Nissan Leaf - Irish Green / Efficient Car of the Year 2018

Nissan Leaf E Pedal - Irish Car of the Year Innovation Award 2019

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter was voted as Irish Van of the Year 2019.

ICOTY Committee member Mark Gallivan said: “What a wonderful array of cars we had in this year’s competition, it was a very tight race and the XC40 is a very worthy winner.”

ICOTY Committee member Bob Flavin said: “Congratulations to the Volvo XC40 for winning through from a field of some 48 new models launched this year on the Irish market.”

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres said about the awards: “The choices of the Irish Car of the Year jury provide a great helping hand to Irish consumers in navigating their way through the bewildering array of high tech vehicles that are launched in Ireland each year and in this regard, Continental is delighted to be associated with the Irish Car of the Year awards.”


Continental Black Chili Driving Experience France 2018

Caroline Takes The Black Chili Challenge With Continental

I recently travelled to the South of France with Continental Tyres UK to take the Black Chili Challenge. Over two days and two stunning driving routes, I sampled Continental’s ultra high performance (UHP) tyres on some of the world’s most sought after performance cars.

The garage for the two day event was the stuff of dreams – two Audi RS3s, two Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG cabriolets, two BMW M240i cabriolets, two Porsche Boxsters and two Tesla Model S. It didn’t take long to reply to that invitation. Vroom, vroom, here we go!

Yet the interesting thing about this event in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region was that it was not about foot to the floor driving - it wasn’t even really about the sports cars assembled. As the Conti team put it to us, it was a ‘live marketing experience’ giving us an opportunity to feel the brand’s ultra high performance tyres on the road and learn more about tyre technology and Continental's other automotive technologies - while enjoying great scenery, challenging roads and French hospitality.

So what's the Black Chili Challenge?

The Continental Team also produced a challenge element to the event – the Black Chili Challenge. But it was not a race - I repeat, not a race. To boost our engagement with the event, each team was given an iPad with a number of challenges to be performed at particular intervals over the two day event. We also were given presentations on Continental’s automotive technologies.

You see there are many cars ‘powered by Continental’, with more than just tyres. For example, the BMW M240i we drove has a load of gear sourced from Continental - tyre pressure monitoring system, wheel speed sensors, dynamic stability control system, engine management sensors, heating and ventilation system and even the electronics in the seat.

The ESC (Electronic Stability Control) is the most amazing piece of automotive safety technology that keeps you on the straight and narrow every day in your car without you even knowing. Sensors on the car feed the ESC’s brain with information and make mechanical interventions like braking individual wheels to correct understeer and oversteer. This is incredible stuff.

For the Black Chili Challenge, we were also asked to keep our average fuel consumption below 15l/100km, which some of the cars seemed to make more challenging (looking at you Audi RS3). That also cut out any notions of nonsense behind the wheel. Points were awarded for things like safe and economical driving, time keeping and team spirit. There was even a card system like in football – so any naughty behaviour and you could be sent home!

What is Continental Vision Zero?

You see safety is a huge aspect of Continental’s work in tyre technology and creating other driving aids and assistance systems in cars. The company has been a pioneer of road safety for over 140 years. They have a vision, a big vision: well actually it’s the Continental Vision Zero! The company wants to evolve from “the best in braking to zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero accidents”. At any given time when driving, the tyre has only an area the size of a postcard in contact with the road. Yes, your tyres are very important for how you control and stop your car.

Continental Black Chili Driving Experience France 2018
The Continental Vision Zero is an initiative by the manufacturer to improve road safety

So what’s the significance of Black Chili? It’s an innovative rubber compound in Continental’s ultra high performance tyres that ensures optimum interlock­ing between tyre and road surface – making for outstanding grip in dry or wet conditions. Compared with conventional silica tires, Black Chili tyres have on average 26 percent lower rolling resistance, 30 percent higher grip and 5 percent higher mileage.

So were the cars good?

The cars for the Black Chili Challenge were chosen for a few reasons: principally of course (I might be stating the obvious here) because they were shod with tyres from Continental. For example, the Porsche was on new Continental SportContact 6. Approved for speeds of up to 350 km/h, the SportContact 6 has the highest speed rating of any series-produced tyre in the Continental portfolio. It was at this point where I learnt how in the development of a vehicle, a car manufacturer will often come to Continental to develop a specific tyre for that car. Continental will be given a number of requirements and they receive a pre-production car for testing (Continental has their own testing tracks in Europe and USA).

The Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche were chosen for the event because they are reasonably compact for the roads we were driving on in the South of France: the ‘Route des Cretes’ and ‘Route des Cascades’, two routes which get very narrow and dangerous in places. The largest car in the garage was the Tesla Model S. It’s a wide car and definitely felt it on these narrow, mountainous roads. In the company of the Boxster et al, its shortcomings as a performance car were apparent. But its inclusion was warranted because Tesla came to Continental with a specific request – develop tyres to reduce road noise in the cabin! Yeah it worked!

Continental Black Chili Driving Experience France 2018
Each team was given a road book with step by step directions to add to the challenge element!

My favourite car of the bunch was the Audi RS3. It just made such easy work of the tight hairpins and flowing corners, with beautifully weighted and precise steering with a fabulous supporting soundtrack from the 2.5-litre, five cylinder engine. The BMW M240i was another highlight with plenty of dirty pops from its 6 cylinder in line engine. It looked too pretty to make noises like that. You scoundrel!

Under blue skies and +25 degree heat , we climbed into the mountains above Nice, driving across asphalt of varying quality. Corner after corner, there was the opportunity to feel the grip of the Conti tyres, helping the cars pass their power to the road safely and efficiently.

So where did we finish? Well we were happy with a podium finish, taking joint third position in the Black Chili Challenge with Adam from UK motoring site CarWitter.

Did you learn anything?

But the event was about so much more for me than just fast cars. I genuinely learnt so much about tyres and automotive technologies in a real fun and engaging way. I was also very impressed with the passion, commitment, knowledge and dedication of the whole Continental team. They are not just employees but real advocates and ambassadors for their company and its Vision Zero campaign. The event was run fantastically well and it was cool to be awarded for our smarts, team spirit and safe and economical driving -  a fantastic message to send out.

I would like to thank the Continental Team for an amazing experience and a special mention for Mark from Continental Tyres UK. Also thank you to Marcel from Continental Germany for being an excellent co-driver, reading the road book perfectly and being great company over two days of driving!

Caroline Kidd

Continental Black Chili Driving Experience France 2018
'Powered by Continental'

Irish Car of the Year 2018 Peugeot 3008

Irish Car of the Year 2018 Winners Revealed!

Ireland’s motoring journalists have crowned the Peugeot 3008 as Irish Car of the Year 2018.

The Irish Car of the Year Awards 2018 in association with Continental Tyres took place at a gala event in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

The event was attended by Ireland’s leading car brands, importers, distributors and other motoring dignitaries.

Irish Car of the Year (ICOTY) Committee member Michael Sheridan said: “What an achievement for the Peugeot 3008 to come out on top from a field of some 60 new models launched this year on the Irish market.”

ICOTY Committee member David Walshe said: “It was a very tight competition this year with many, many fine vehicles in the running for the Irish Car of the Year accolade, congratulations to a worthy winner.”

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres, said: “The choices of the Irish Car of the Year jury are a great help in informing Irish consumers as to the bewildering array of high tech vehicles that are launched in Ireland each year. Continental is delighted to be associated with the Irish Car of the Year awards.”

New for this year’s awards programme, the Irish Car of the Year Committee introduced an award designed to recognise outstanding innovation, the Irish Car of the Year Innovation award. The Irish Car of the Year Committee explained that the aim of the award is to highlight the many innovative technologies and systems that car makers are integrating in new models. Many of these innovations are helping to improve road safety and are making cars more intelligent as the dawn of autonomous driving comes ever closer.  The winner of the inaugural Irish Car of the Year Innovation Award for 2018 is the Honda Civic Sensing Suite of Safety Features.

Apart from the Innovation category award winner, the nine other category winners were all in the running for the top honour with the judging panel of over 30 journalists from online, print and broadcast media electing the Peugeot 3008 by a very tight margin.

The category winners:

Kia Picanto - Irish City Car of the Year 2018

Nissan Micra - Irish Small Car of the Year 2018

Honda Civic - Irish Compact Car of the Year 2018

Alfa Romeo Giulia - Irish Medium Car of the Year 2018

BMW 5 Series - Irish Executive / Premium Car of the Year 2018

Peugeot 3008 - Irish Compact Crossover of the Year 2018

Skoda Kodiaq - Irish Large Crossover of the Year 2018

Toyota Prius PHEV - Irish Green / Efficient Car of the Year 2018

Alfa Romeo Giulia QF - Irish Performance / Sports Car of the Year 2018

Caroline Kidd


Continental Tyres Ireland Vision Zero

Continental Brings Vision Zero Live Event To Mondello

Continental Tyres recently brought its Vision Zero Live event to Mondello Race Circuit in Co. Kildare. Over three days, general consumers, staff from tyre retailers and managers of large company fleets had the opportunity to participate in a range of ‘hands on the wheel’ demonstrations of the company’s latest tyre and automotive technologies.

The company wants to achieve zero injuries, zero fatalities and zero accidents on our roads – hence, Continental’s Vision Zero initiative.

Using a fleet of some 20 vehicles to run a series of eye-opening demonstrations, participants at the Vision Zero Live event were shown how dangerous it is to drive on tyres that are at or near the legal tread depth level of 1.6mm.  In addition, there was the opportunity to get behind the wheel and perform emergency braking manoeuvres in cars fitted with premium and budget tyres and to observe the difference in performance and stopping distances.

Some of the Continental automotive technologies that were on display included Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) where the car will stop automatically if the driver does not intervene to avoid a collision.  AEB is becoming ever more popular on all types of cars and is no longer the preserve of the more premium brands.

Continental Tyres Ireland Vision Zero
A blacked out Mercedes-Benz to demonstrate some of Continental's technologies at the Vision Zero Live event at Mondello Park

One of the most popular activities from Vision Zero Live was the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz E-Class with all of the windows blacked out and just the option of using the car’s camera and sensor systems to navigate a pre-prepared course.

Speaking about Vision Zero Live, Tom Dennigan, Head of Continental Tyres Ireland, said: “This event is all about educating the public about the wider expertise of the Continental Group and showing our long-standing commitment to safety. Many people know us for our premium tyres but we also wanted to show people that we have long been experts at developing automotive safety systems that are embedded in many of the cars that we see on the highways and byways of Ireland. It was also a great opportunity to show participants in a practical way the importance of proper tyre care, with many consumers commenting on how scary it was to see the danger of driving on tyres with excessively worn tread.”