Pirelli completes a tyre change every hour at the Total 24 Hours of Spa
Pirelli tyres used round the clock at Spa, demonstrating both performance and reliability Audi Sport Team Sainteloc took victory at the Total 24 Hours of Spa with its Audi R8 LMS driven by Christopher Haase, Jules Gounon and Markus Winkelhock, which completed 546 laps using a mixture of the Pirelli P Zero DHD in the dry and the Cinturato WH tyre when it rained. The winning car hit a top speed of 259kph, with an average speed of 180.4kph. There was a pit stop every hour during the race, underlining the logistical challenge faced by Pirelli. In all conditions the tyres performed perfectly, and even when it rained the leading Lamborghini and Ferrari at the time stayed on the P Zero DHD rather than switching to the Cinturato WH wet tyre, continuing to drive at a good pace. Although the Total 24 Hours of Spa is an endurance race, many of the teams treated it as a 24-hour sprint, meaning that they went flat-out for the duration: especially in the morning hours where conditions improved, allowing teams to reach peak performance. These Pirelli tyres had to perform throughout on one of the toughest circuits in the world, in a very wide range of conditions on the 7.004-kilometre Spa-Francorchamps layout, on a wide range of car manufacturers, five of which finished in the top 10. Most teams changed their tyres around each hour during the race, so that the tyres could work within their optimal range and continue to deliver the performance required to push for a full 24 hours.
Quotes: Matteo Braga (Pirelli circuit activity manager): “Spa is well-known as one of the toughest circuits in the world, providing a huge test for drivers, cars and of course tyres. This year was absolutely no exception, with sunshine and rain during the 24 Hours. We were pleased to see that all 10 manufacturers represented found the perfect balance of performance and consistency from our product and delivered a very competitive fight where the lead changed throughout the entire race, making it a massively exciting event for the many spectators. If you have a product that performs well in Spa, you have a tyre that will perform anywhere. For Pirelli, Spa is not only a challenge for the product, but also for our team who provide the best support to our customers in the Blancpain GT Series. I would like to thank and congratulate the entire Pirelli team for their hard work, staying focussed for so many hours throughout this epic race.” Markus Winkelhock (first place #25, Audi Sport Team Sainteloc, Audi R8 LMS): “Everything went well with the tyres over the 24 hours and that speaks for itself, so from that point of view we were absolutely happy with the performance.” Andy Soucek (second place #8, Bentley Team M-Sport, Bentley Continental GT3): “The tyres felt really consistent throughout my stints, it all went smoothly so I’m happy. It’s such a long race and if you have a problem with the tyre it can be the end, so that’s one of the most important things. I drove in both the wet and dry, and the wet tyre felt really good with our car. I felt quite a lot of grip and confident to push and I was lapping I think the fastest at that time.”
Fact of the day: This is the 69th edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, and the fourth time that Audi has won. Pirelli uses the lessons learned in motorsport to develop road tyres and the brand is currently homologated for a number of Audi models including the R8, A6, RS3 and A3. Numbers of the day: 546. The number of laps completed by each team in the top six. 11.862s. The gap between first and second place. 2,000. The approximate number of people who visited the Pirelli activation area at Spa and enjoyed all it had to offer, including a giant Scalextric set, and driving simulators that allowed fans to truly feel like they were driving the famous Spa circuit. 40. The number of hours of continuous work by Pirelli.
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