Team Olive Garden Ferrari runs with Pirelli.
Orlando, Fla., (February 24, 2003) -- Team Olive Garden Ferrari today announced it has selected Pirelli P Zero racing tires for its attack on the factory Corvette effort in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GTS championship this year.
Olive Garden President Drew Madsen lauded the selection. "So much of what we do is inspired by close ties to Italy -- that makes Pirelli a wonderful part of our team. Together with our co-sponsor Coca-Cola, we welcome Pirelli to Team Olive Garden Ferrari and we're thrilled to work with them. Adding their technical support and expertise to the team's resources makes us even more excited about the new compet- itiveness we expect to achieve in the ALMS GTS Championship this year."
Team leader Gabriele Rafanelli's comments on the announcement reflect increasing confidence on the part of "The Team from Tuscany". "Our evolution model will debut at Sebring on Pirelli P Zeros. We've built great engineering advances into the Team Olive Garden Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS over the winter. Now with Pirelli's expertise and com- mitment to development, I think the payoff will be not only in championship points, but in the cheers of the 'Ferraristi' when the checkered flag falls at North America's ALMS races this season."
"The Ferrari-Pirelli bond in sports car racing has been particularly strong as can be witnessed by the two winning World Sports Car championships in 1995 and 1998," commented Guy Mannino, President of Pirelli Tire North America. "We also enjoyed our relationship with Olive Garden in the 1999 ALMS season running two Ferrari 333 SPs. Their "Drive Against Hunger" program is one of the great outreach programs associated with the ALMS."
Pirelli also won the World Sports Car championship in 1996, as well as four GT Championships in the late 1990s.
Team Olive Garden has completely revised last year's Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS and created a 2003 evolution model. The V2003 car is both stiffer and lighter and features new diffusers front and rear which substantially improve aerodynamic efficiency. Both front and rear suspensions have been replaced with improved designs with new mounting points, all-new components and sharply improved kinematics. Hewland has provided a lighter evolution gearbox, now with sequential shift.
Team Olive Garden drivers Emanuele Naspetti and Mimmo Schiattarella scored three podium finishes last year on the way to third place in the IMSA Cup and fourth in the 2002 ALMS GTS team championship. Naspetti was ranked 7th in GTS driver points while Schiattarella placed 9th. Naspetti and Schiattarella will be joined by Johnny Ceccotto at Sebring.