Pirelli is committed to being the leading supplier of GT racing tyres to the most prestigious car companies in the world, and the championship that represents GT racing across all four corners of the globe is the Intercontinental GT Challenge.At the end of four varied and complex endurance rounds this year, Mercedes driver Tristan Vautier from France claimed the drivers’ title last weekend, while Audi took the manufacturers’ title as well as the race win at the final round in Laguna Seca, California.

California dreaming
The California 8 Hours was held at the Laguna Seca track, best-known for its signature ‘Corkscrew’ corner. The main challenge for the 16 crews taking part in the premier GT3 class was the sheer pace of the eight-hour race, with the lead constantly changing hands. The circuit is surrounded by desert and coast, so sand on the track reduces grip and meant that the drivers needed to find as much traction and precision as possible from the Pirelli P Zero DHD2 control tyres. Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase and Kelvin van der Linde won the race, while third place for Vautier was enough to ensure him of the drivers’ title.

On such a winter’s day
The season wasn’t quite winter last weekend, but conditions on Sunday’s race day were still cooler than they had been on the preceding days. The biggest task for the Pirelli tyres was adapting to the wide range of track temperatures – which ranged from 19 degrees when the race got underway at 09:15 and peaked at 29 degrees in the afternoon, before falling again as the race finished at 17:15. Making sure that the tyres were in the peak operating window despite these different temperatures, was one of the main challenges for the tyres – which they coped with impressively.

I’ve been for a walk
Strategy was key on the 3.602-kilometre track. Such a tightly-fought race effectively became a series of high-adrenaline sprints, with teams changing tyres after every stint to benefit from constant peak performance. The winning Audi even overcame a couple of drive-through penalties, meaning that the Audi Sport Team Land squad had to optimise the strategy in order to make up the lost time.

I’d be safe and warm
Pirelli’s P Zero tyres provided drivers of all four makes represented at Laguna Seca – Audi, Bentley, Mercedes and Porsche – with the same feeling of confidence that is a hallmark of Pirelli’s equivalent road car tyres: exactly why these manufacturers also choose them as original equipment for their roadgoing models. At the same time, the race tyres are designed to be adaptable to every circumstance presented by the Intercontinental GT Challenge – from Australia to America – as well as the wide variety of cars and drivers.

Matteo Braga, Pirelli circuit technical manager
It was a really close and exciting race, with no let-up in the pace. The P Zero DHD2 tyres were extremely consistent from start to finish, despite the variation in track temperatures throughout the eight hours. Our tyres work well with the balance of performance that has been put in place for all the cars, which offers the promoter a solid base for exciting competition. Congratulations to the race winners and the champions in California: with a technical track that not many European drivers have experience of, plus the frequent lack of grip with sand on the surface, Laguna Seca was an extremely tough challenge.”

What’s next?
The California 8 Hours was the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, but the next major international GT race on Pirelli’s schedule is one of the most famous in the world: the FIA GT World Cup on the legendary Macau Guia circuit on November 18.


For more information about the four rounds of the SRO-promoted Intercontinental GT Challenge, please visit:

For more information on Pirelli, contact Anthony Peacock on +44 (0) 7765 896 930 or