Pirelli Tires Have Successful First Test in Preparation for 2008 Rolex Series Debut DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2007) -- While there is still a long way to go in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special ...
Pirelli Tires Have Successful First Test in Preparation for 2008 Rolex Series Debut
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 29, 2007) -- While there is still a long way to go in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, race teams, drivers and series officials already have their eye on 2008 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.
The No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley, No. 77 Kodak Feeds The Need/Doran Racing Ford Doran, No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve/Cheever Racing Porsche Fabcar and the No. 20 Howard Motorsports Pontiac Crawford were joined at Homestead-Miami Speedway for two days of Pirelli tire testing by the No. 70 Mazda/Mazdaspeed SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R and the No. 72 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3. On Wednesday, the No. 01, 39, 20, 07 and 70 teams moved a few hundred miles to the north for more testing on the Daytona International Speedway 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."
Among the drivers testing were points leaders in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. Daytona Prototype points leader Scott Pruett shared the No. 01 Lexus Riley with co-driver Memo Rojas, while GT points 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."
Armed with a considerable amount of data from the test sessions, Pirelli engineers will analyze the results and make any necessary changes before additional testing will continue. All teams will have ample time with the Pirelli P Zeroes before the green flag drops on next year's Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Next up for the Grand-Am Rolex Series is the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway on the weekend of April 28-29. Tickets are available now on www.virclub.com, and the split GT and Daytona Prototype races will be televised on SPEED.