PIRELLI SUPPLIES FERRARI 296 CHALLENGE AND 499P MODIFICATA WITH BESPOKE P ZERO TYRES
Continuing a relationship that has been in place since the Ferrari Challenge was inaugurated in 1992, Pirelli will equip the ninth racing model to form the centrepiece of the famous one-make series: the Ferrari 296 Challenge.
The new 296 takes over from the 488 Challenge Evo that was introduced in 2019, and Pirelli has once again developed a tailor-made family of racing tyres for the latest model, featuring new sizes for front and rear. The research and development process followed the same methodology as used by Pirelli for the FIA Formula One World Championship, with increasing reliance on virtualisation and simulation, in close collaboration with Ferrari’s engineers.
Two new tyre designs will be seen on next year’s 296 Challenge car, which was presented at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Mugello this weekend: a P Zero slick for dry conditions, as well as a grooved Cinturato for a wet or mixed surface. All of these new tyres have been designed to maximise grip, driveability, consistency, and working range throughout the wide variety of circuits and conditions that the Ferrari Challenge visits throughout the year all over the world.
The new Ferrari Challenge P Zero slick (in 280/680-19 size at the front and 300/720-19 size at the rear) is stiffer, with more grip and consistently faster lap times compared to its predecessor; thanks also to a wider front tyre that helps turn-in. The latest Cinturato evacuates five per cent more water and has a six per cent greater residual contact area than the tyre that came before it, with redesigned sipes to improve warm-up and wet traction.
All these tyres have been tailor-made to accommodate the notable evolutions that come with the latest Ferrari Challenge model, including a record-breaking 700 horsepower from the first six-cylinder engine ever to be used in the Challenge, as well as 870 kilograms of downforce generated at 250kph (18 per cent more than the previous model) and a Formula 1-derived braking system.
Pirelli’s ‘perfect fit’ philosophy describes how tyres are specifically made to enhance the particular characteristics of each car they are fitted to. This approach is particularly evident on ultra high performance cars, with Pirelli equipping around 50% of the prestige market globally.
Pirelli will additionally supply the new Ferrari 499P Modificata, based on the car that won the Le Mans 24 Hours this year. This is a limited-edition sports prototype for non-competitive use, inaugurating the new Sport Prototipi Clienti programme; similar to the existing F1 Clienti scheme. The new 499P Modificata also made its first appearance at Mugello this weekend, using bespoke 18-inch P Zero tyres specifically developed for the 870-horsepower hybrid prototype, which also features four-wheel drive.
Pirelli’s Head of Motorsport Mario Isola commented: “We’re extremely proud to continue the relationship that we’ve enjoyed with the Ferrari Challenge for more than 30 years, since we equipped the very first car – the 348 Challenge – with bespoke 17-inch tyres in 1992. Car and tyre technology has moved on immeasurably during that time, but both Pirelli and Ferrari have remained true to the philosophy of using motorsport as an open-air laboratory to validate technical solutions that eventually find their way onto the road, also when it comes to design and development. The 296 Challenge – closely related to its showroom equivalent – as well as the stunning 499P Modificata are the latest powerful symbols of the close collaboration between Pirelli and Ferrari: both on the road and the track.”