Pirelli Prepares for Grand Am debut
Pirelli makes its race debut as the new series-standard tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 in just a few days at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but the Daytona Test Days January 4 - 6 was nothing short of the biggest weekend of North American competition for Pirelli Tire in the company's illustrious history. Nearly 70 racing teams put new Pirelli P-Zero racing tires through three days and one night of hard testing in preparation for the grueling twice-around-the-clock race and the opener on the worldwide motorsports calendar January 26-27.
After a preliminary practice run at Daytona last November, Daytona Test Days was Pirelli's first true test of its exclusive Grand-Am racing tire and the new P-Zero and a full staff of Pirelli engineers and tire personnel were up to the challenge. In total, Pirelli brought 2,500 tires to the "World Center of Racing" for the three-day test. Participating Rolex Series teams ran an incredible total of 11,616 laps on the 3.56-mile road course during the test which equates to more than 41,353 miles of testing at Daytona just this past weekend alone.
Veteran Tire Man Kenny Szymanski, who has spent three decades handling the tire duties for championship Formula 1, Indy car and sports car teams, was impressed with the Pirellis. Szymanski worked the test for reigning GT Champions FarnbacherLoles and will return with the top Porsche team for the Rolex 24.
"The wear has been great," Szymanski said of the new P-Zeros. "We ran scuffed tires from a previous test at another track and in the end we had 100 laps on one set and 71 laps on the other. The tire was great and they hold up very well."
Former Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Champion Max Angelelli was also impressed with the latest Pirellis. No stranger to the brand, the Italian sports car star has raced on Pirelli for years and the Grand-Am P-Zeros live up to his expectations after a full weekend of testing in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley.
"I'm very happy," Angelelli said. "I have absolutely good feelings about having Pirelli on board with us and I'm really looking forward to the racing season. They have been proven to be extremely good tires, and we can set up the car with the same set of tires multiple times, even with tires that have one-plus stint on them."
While Daytona Test Days was by far the biggest motorsport volume weekend for Pirelli in its North American history, the record will not last for long. In less than a week, a 70-plus entry of Grand-Am Rolex Series teams will return to Daytona for the Rolex 24 and Pirelli will be ready for an even bigger weekend of support and service for its first race as the Official Tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.
Pirelli Tire North America specializes in manufacturing and marketing high-performance tires for passenger vehicles, motorcycles, ATV's and motorsports. An industry leader in technology and quality, Pirelli operates its highly advanced Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) in Rome, Georgia, to better serve the American OEM and Replacement markets. For more information please visit: www.us.pirelli.com.