2006 FIA-GT Championship to start with Pirelli a clear protagonist

Milan, 29 April 2006 - Next weekend finally sees the start of the International FIA-GT Championship, a series of great importance on a motor racing's world scale. And it begins at the historic Silverstone circuit after the first event scheduled in Bucharest was postponed to the autumn. Pirelli Competizioni will be at the British track, aiming for top performance and significant results. Some of the most competitive cars in the series will be on Pirelli P Zero Racing tyres. In the GT1 class, Pirelli's colours will be defended by the BMS-Scuderia Italia Aston Martin DBR9s of Babini-Gollin and Pescatori-Ramos and by the Maserati MC12s of the Vitaphone team, driven by Davies-Biagi and Bertolini-Bartels. In the GT2 class, Pirelli P Zero Racings will be fitted to the AF Corse Ferraris, campaigned by Bobbi-Salo and Melo-Aguas, as they will to the most formidable Porsches in the entry list: the two 996 GT3-RSRs of Riccitelli-Collard and Busnelli-Moccia, which Team Ebimotors will run in the season's events with the support of the Stuttgart manufacturer. The Ferrari-Porsche challenge could be made even more tantalising by the presence of the Pirelli-shod Panoz Esperante of Team LTN, which could be a significant outsider in the FIA-GT series, as it was on 9 April in the 1000 Km of Istanbul. In Turkey, the drivers of the American car immediately ended up on the podium, achieving a placing that reinforced the positive results obtained in March at Sebring's 12 Hours, in which the Panoz-Pirelli won the GT2 class. British engineer Jamie Davies, one of Pirelli's top drivers in GT competition, will be at the start of the 2006 FIA-GT season with a Vitaphone's Maserati MC12. He said, "I am convinced we can do well at Silverstone. The work by Pirelli Competizioni's technicians to develop P Zero Racings for the MC12s enables me to be optimistic, even if some of the opposition showed itself to be decidedly competitive at the Dijon test session in mid-April. The MC12s on Pirelli seem capable of standing up to the attack that will come from the many Aston Martins and the Saleens, which appear to have recovered the competitiveness they lost in 2005". If the 10 races in the series promise a white-hot battle in the GT1 class in both the individual races and the championship itself, GT2 will also be quite a spectacle. Pierluigi De Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, says, "In 2005, the GT2 class really was the poor relation of the superior category, with very few entries and a real monopoly held by a single team. But this year, the quality and number of competitive entries are extremely high, which means we can hope for a forthcoming season that should be a winner at all levels. Pirelli is ready to support the many teams competing on its tyres in the best possible way: many of them are candidates for success in the season's races and the championship. We are making a major effort and are certain to be among the protagonists, with the prospect of improving even further on the already optimum results achieved in 2005". For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com