Pirelli ready for the 24 hours of SPA, the season's most important FIA-GT Race

Milan, 23 July 2006 - The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the key event in the 2006 international FIA-GT Championship. The marathon, which takes place next weekend through the Ardennes forest, offers not only double points compared to all the other races in the series, it also acts as an effective litmus paper by which to evaluate who, in reality, merits the role of candidate for final victory, and who can only aim for optimum race-by-race results. Spa accurately predicted championship's outcome in 2005, resulting in the Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12 on Pirelli P Zero Racing tyres triumphing at the end of the year in the FIA-GT team and constructors' classes. It is also true that the extreme toughness of the race, which is often run in unpredictable weather conditions - from torrid heat to torrential rain -, is another aspect that makes the Belgian 24 Hours unique.

To adequately prepare itself for this decisive round in the series, Pirelli Competizioni's engineers have developed a whole new range of tyres, which were extensively tested last month at the Mugello circuit in Italy and briefly at Spa during the collective test day of 5 July. For the Aston Martin DBR9s and Maserati MC12s of the GT1 class, Pirelli will take to the Belgian track tyres with a new medium tread compound for daytime racing and softer covers for competing at night or in lower temperatures during the day. The range also includes intermediates boasting various compounds, which permit an ad hoc definition of tyre choice in line with the state of the circuit, weather conditions and the car for which they are being selected.

For GT2 class cars - the Ferrari 430 GTC and Porsche 996 GT3-RSR - a selection of P Zero Racings has been defined which is extremely similar to the tyres earmarked for the two-seaters in the higher category, with the difference that Pirelli will offer GT2 competitors a new medium soft tyre for use at night or in moderate day time temperatures.

As Pirelli Competizioni Circuit Manager Pierluigi De Cancellis observes, "It is fundamental to define a really versatile range of tyres for the Belgian race. One capable of guaranteeing constant high performance for many laps, especially on asphalt and in weather conditions which are extraordinarily variable. It is not at all rare to have hot sun at the finish line and pouring rain on the other side of the circuit. The results of the tests we carried out recently are comforting and were confirmed as effective again by Pirelli's subsequent victories in mid-July with the GPC team's Ferrari 430 GTC at the 1000 Km of the Nurburgring and the Aston Martin DBR9 in the Utah Grand Prix in the American Le Mans Series".

For more information and pictures on Pirelli's motorsport activities visit: www.pirellicompetizioni.com

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