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Continental Tire and Rainer Zietlow Smash the World Record of Fastest Journey on the Pan-American Highway

Jul 27, 2011

  • Continental's Cross Contact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology tires speed to a world record of 11 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes in the ultimate endurance test, the TDI-Panamericana challenge
  • Zietlow and Challenge4 Team race from Texas to Alaska in only two days

Deadhorse, Alaska - An elated but exhausted Challenge4 team led by Rainer Zietlow zipped through Alaska July 13 on their Continental Cross Contact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology tires and entered Deadhorse early July 14 - the end of the Pan-American Highway. The team set out to travel the length of the longest highway in the world in just 14 days, but shattered its own goal and the former world record, arriving at the highway's end in only 11 days, 17 hours and 22 minutes.

Epcp 1107 01 o+continental tire rainer zietlow fastest journey world record+tire Photo 2/2   |   Continental Tire and Rainer Zietlow Smash the World Record of Fastest Journey on the Pan-American Highway

The team embarked on the TDI-Panamericana Challenge - the ultimate endurance test - in Ushuaia, Argentina, on June 2 to commemorate the 75 anniversary of the Pan-American Highway. In their 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI® Clean Diesel SUV equipped with Continental Tire's most innovative SUV tire to date, the dynamic CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology, the team traveled more than 16,000 miles non-stop on one set of tires, through 14 countries and varying terrain and conditions, including snow, sand, rain, mud, off-road and highway.

Zietlow, a celebrated off-road racer, and his Challenge4 teammates Carlos Fernandez and Marius Biela switched off driving throughout the journey, making no stops to sleep.

After extreme weather and heavy snowfall in Argentina postponed the challenge two days, the task was looking rather ominous. But the Challenge4 Team was eager to complete their mission. They traveled through treacherous winter conditions in South America, only to be hit with record-high summer temperatures through much of the U.S. North Americans watched in awe as the team drove from Texas to Alaska in just two days and without a single hitch. Through extreme weather conditions, drastic altitudes, differing terrain and non-stop action, the Extreme Contact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology tires withstood the elements, guiding the drivers to their final destination - a true testament to their strength and durability.

"This is an extremely proud day for Continental Tire," said Travis Roffler, Continental Tire director of marketing. "We knew our tires were up to the challenge, but this great success confirms what we've known all along - our tires are the best. This was a debut event for the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology and it proves to our engineers who have worked so hard to perfect this tire that it's been a true success. We're dedicated to improving fuel-efficiency, safety and durability - and that's exactly what we've done here."

The team, now on their way back to Fairbanks, Alaska, will commence their road show through all of the Americas and Europe on July 31. During the road show, Zietlow plans to visit Continental Tire offices in Canada, Fort Mill, Mexico City and Sao Paul, and plants in Mt. Vernon, Mexico, and Camacari.

The CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology, which will be officially launched in August, is a premium all-season tire, developed to deliver improved fuel economy and treadwear, reduce harmful CO emissions and surpass the competition - which it does, stopping 34 feet shorter than the leading competitor in independent wet braking tests.

The hallmark of the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology isdelivering greater fuel economy compared to the leading competition. With the advance EcoPlus Technology, the CrossContact LX20 saves the average driver up to 2,500 miles of fuel - a crucial feature for the Challenge4 Team as they made their way across two continents. Offering a smooth and comfortable ride, crisp handling and drastically reduced road noise, the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology is also backed by some of the strongest warranty programs and service contracts in the industry, including a 70,000 mile limited warranty and 12-month free replacement.

EcoPlus Technology consists of two main components, Tg-F polymers and +Silane. The Tg-F polymers are temperature-activated functional polymers that increase compound bonding, improving the wear and fuel efficiency of the tire. The second component of the EcoPlus Technology, +Silane, is an additive that works to enhance the tire's grip on slippery roads and reduce stopping distances. These technologies work together to enhance the driving experience for a long tire life when conditions are normal, and toprovide excellent wet braking on slippery roads.

For more information about the TDI-Panamericana Challenge and the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology, visit



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