First Pirelli test successful

ROME, Georgia – Pirelli engineers have concluded their opening round of testing for the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve and have achieved favorable results. Race teams, drivers and series officials already have their eye on next year as evidenced by this week's test sessions of the new Pirelli P Zero tires that all Daytona Prototype and GT cars will use beginning with next year's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Several teams were on hand for two days of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past week that culminated in an additional 2 days of work a few hundred miles to the north at Daytona International Speedway on the road course layout. The teams combined to run several thousand miles over the four days of testing and came away from the sessions impressed with the performance of the new tires. Many cars did 40- to 50-lap runs, and the Pirellis earned positive reports in their first time on Rolex Series machinery from all involved.

"We are very pleased with the early efforts of Pirelli," said Grand-Am Director of Race Operations Scott Spencer. "The tires have come back from long runs showing good wear characteristics and great consistency in lap times. Overall, we have had a great introduction to Pirelli and their ability to produce race tires."

Pierluigi De Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, who was present at the Daytona tests, fresh from supervising a Pirelli victory at the opening round of the FIA-GT Championship in Zhuhai, China, remarked “It has been a great opportunity for us to meet and work with the teams in the Grand-Am series, particularly when have had great results right out of the box." De Cancellis and his team obtained a considerable amount of data and information in the 4 track days and will analyze whether any changes need to be made prior to continuing the testing schedule. “We want to be sure that all teams have ample time to experience our product prior to the start of next year and that we have the optimum fitments early on."

Among the drivers testing were points leaders in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. Daytona Prototype point’s leader Scott Pruett shared the No. 01 Lexus Riley with co-driver Memo Rojas, while GT point’s co-leader Sylvain Tremblay put the Pirelli tires to the test on his No. 70 Mazda RX-8.

"We are pleased to see Pirelli's commitment to the Grand-Am Rolex Series," Tremblay said. "The competitiveness of the series will no doubt be matched with the quality and competitiveness of their tires. It is early in the relationship, but we are pleased with the product and progress we have seen to date."

"For the first time out, I am impressed with the Pirelli's durability," Pruett added. "The exciting thing is that we didn't have to do much changing to the setup. We only had to make minor, minor changes to what we raced here at Daytona and at Homestead, and that is very encouraging for the crew and all of us."

Pirelli Tire North America specializes in the manufacture and marketing of high-performance car, light truck and motorcycle tires and currently has four of it highly advanced MIRS (Modular Integrated Robotized System) modules in operation in its newest automated production facility in Rome, Georgia, to better serve the American OEM and Replacement markets. For more information, vast the company’s website at Pirelli PR

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