FERRARI TRIUMPHS WITH PIRELLI AT A RECORD-BREAKING CALIFORNIA 8 HOURS
The California 8 Hours, round two of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, was won by the HubAuto Corsa Ferrari crew of Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Miguel Molina, after a hard-fought race where five different manufacturers filled the top five places. The Ferrari drivers won by 12.5 seconds thanks to a solid race strategy, despite a small problem with a wheel gun during the third pit stop.
With no safety cars or other interruptions, a new distance record was set for the famous eight-hour race: 1177.75 kilometres, during which Pirelli’s P Zero tyres delivered perfect performance.
There were 20 entries total (including GT4) at Laguna Seca, featuring 60 drivers spanning 19 nations. A record eight manufacturers took the start, all closely matched thanks to the championship’s balance of performance. Second place for Mercedes in Laguna Seca means that the German squad now extends its lead of the manufacturers’ championship, with Raffaele Marciello, Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Goetz leading the drivers’ standings. The Ford Mustang of Jade Buford, Chad McCumbee and James Pesek won GT4.
A new start
The Honda NSX GT3 Evo, Audi R8 LMS Evo and 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R all made their Intercontinental GT Challenge debuts at the California 8 Hours, with the NSX GT3 Evo taking pole in the hands of Mario Farnbacher, piloting the #30 Honda Team MOTUL Acura NSX GT3. Farnbacher took pole by two tenths from Alex Buncombe’s Nissan GT-R, while one of the new R8 LMS Evos was third quickest in qualifying for Audi Sport Team WRT.
DHD2 for GT
The Intercontinental GT Challenge grid used the P Zero DHD2 tyre: a tried and trusted product that has proved to be very versatile on a wide range of circuits all over the world. No tyre issues were reported by any of the drivers in this record-breaking race.
Partners on road and track
The race included some of the most prestigious carmakers in the world – such as Bentley, Mercedes, and Porsche – which use Pirelli tyres on the road as well as the track. This joint participation in motorsport helps to establish Pirelli’s position as the world leader in ultra high performance, with the Intercontinental GT Challenge being the only global GT3 championship.
The big number
5. The famous Corkscrew turn at Laguna Seca drops for the equivalent of nearly five floors in the space of less than 150 metres, covered in approximately two seconds: the equivalent of a 16% gradient. This is the most exhilarating and challenging part of the circuit, loved by all the drivers – a bit like Eau Rouge in Belgium.
Nick Foster, race winner: “Miguel Molina was able to do a really good job early on, and when everybody else started to switch their tyres on through the race, we had that gap. If it wasn’t for our pitlane dramas, we’d have been even further ahead. It’s a real credit to our engineering group who managed to strategize a way for us to get a bit of an overcut that got us back in front.”
Matteo Braga, Pirelli racing technical manager: “From our perspective it was a regular race with no real surprises or too many variables: there were no safety cars and ambient temperatures weren’t as warm as they can be. Regarding the tyres, we are very happy with how it all went. The P Zero DHD2 showed both performance and durability, coping well with the varied demands of this famous circuit. Congratulations to the winning Ferrari crew, which displayed excellent performance and strategy to take a well-deserved victory.”
The next round of the five-event Intercontinental GT Challenge is the legendary Total 24 Hours of Spa, scheduled from July 25-28 in Belgium.
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For further information about the Intercontinental GT Challenge, please visit: www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com