Pirelli:a 2007 protagonist in the FIA-Gt Championship, which begins in China


The Milan-based tyre manufacturer starts a new motor racing season for GT cars, characterized by substantially modified regulations and products designed expressly to meet the new rules, which will come into effect from the first race at Zhuhai.

Milan, 18th of March 2007 - Pirelli Competizioni will be at the start of the 2007 International FIA-GT Championship at Zhuhai armed with a whole series of innovative tyres created and test driven expressly to meet the regulations modified by FIA during the winter break. The Milan manufacturer will be back to race in China on the circuit at which Pirelli won the last two races to have taken place there - in 2004 with the Maserati MC12 and the following year with the Corvette C5-R - convinced of being able to extend its record of victories.

For the first event in the 2007 championship, which starts in a week's time on the circuit situated an hour from Hong Kong and Macao, Pirelli Competizioni will provide its tyres and service for a number of extremely competitive cars. As well as the DBR9s of Aston Martin Racing-BMS for Babini-Davies and Mondini-Monfardini in the GT1 class, the Maserati MC12s of Playteam will compete on PZero Racings, driven by reigning FIA-GT champion Andrea Bertolini with Andrea Piccini, while the second car will be in the hands of Giannoccaro-Pierguidi.
In the GT2 class, the Pirelli Competizioni technicians will focus their attention on the Team BMS Porsche 997 GT3-RSR of Collard-Malucelli, the Ferrari 430 GTCs of Scuderia Ecosse driven by Enge-Janis-Mullen and Kirkaldy-Niarchos and the Ferrari 430 GTCs of Team EdilCris entered for Ruberti, Giammaria and Cressoni.

As mentioned, the differences compared to the last race at the Chinese circuit are many and of considerable proportions. In the first place, the rule changes that FIA has introduced are of an importance sufficient to induce the technical staff of Pirelli Competizioni to totally revise the range of products it will make available to the teams to compete on PZero Racings. In the second place, while the Chinese race has usually been held at the end of the year, the Zhuhai event will be the season's opening round, which constitutes a further unknown for men, cars and tyres.

Pierluigi De Cancellis, Circuit Manager of Pirelli Competizioni, spoke of the various regulation modifications made by FIA for the international GT series. He said, "The fact that each car will only have three sets of dry weather tyres for the whole weekend, that the race format no longer provides for sessions of free testing on the Friday but with everything concentrated on Saturday and Sunday and the duration of each race having been reduced to two hours instead of the previous three has had obvious repercussions on tyre choice, the timing of pit stops - two of which are obligatory - will have an manifest effect on tactics and driving style.
"In fact, the strategies of the teams have been completely revised, as they are no longer able to refer the parameters habitually applied until now".
The Milan engineer also reveals that, "To meet all of these unknowns and variables, Pirelli is to offer the teams it supports tyres with completely new structures and it will also provide them for the first time with the opportunity of choosing from its wet weather tyres, having developed PZero Racings in variants for light rain and those designed specifically for more violent downpours.
"As far as covers for the dry are concerned, we are oriented towards the use of softer tyres - by virtue of the regulation changes, which have reduced the number of sets available and the duration of the races - but we are also able to provide tyres with medium tread compounds if there is a need".

Fabio Babini, Pirelli's test driver and a member of the Aston Martin Racing-BMS team, has carried out a substantial amount of the development work on tyres for the dry in recent months as well as those for the wet. Commenting on the circuit an hour from Hong Kong, he said, "Zhuhai is a track that alternates between violent braking over short, fast tracts, so a high degree of torque is needed from both the car and tyres. In addition, the extremely slippery asphalt complicates the choice of tyres and set-up, even if the latest solutions for the PZero Racings are such as to enable us to be confident about this first race of the season".

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

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