PIRELLI’S CINTURATO TYRES PROVIDE GRIP AT A SOAKED MONZA
The Cinturato WH wet weather tyre from Pirelli was one of the keys to Porsche’s first victory at a Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup round for nearly seven years.
The race weekend was wet from start to finish, with qualifying – where Lamborghini went fastest – also held using the Cinturato tyre: a name that has been synonymous with performance and safety in marginal conditions since the 1950s.
The Dinamic Motorsport squad of Klaus Bachler, Zaid Ashkanani and Andrea Rizzoli eventually triumphed in their 911 GT3-R in a three-hour race that was affected by two safety cars, having started 23rd on the grid.
The FFF Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli, Marco Mapelli and Dennis Lind took second place, while the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Maro Engel, Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz was third, making it three different manufacturers in the top three.
The Equipe Verschuur McLaren 570S won GT4 with Daniel McKay and Benjamin Lessennes.
Slicks or wets?
Tyre strategy proved to be a key aspect of the weekend, as some teams and drivers gambled on slicks in the unpredictable conditions, with the rainfall easing but never actually stopping to allow the track to dry. Getting it right was a tricky call: reigning champion Raffaele Marciello led the race close to the halfway point on the P Zero slicks for Mercedes but would ultimately fall down the order following a safety car period, when those on slicks found it harder to rebuild tyre temperatures at the restart. The pole-sitting Lamborghini was another early leader on slicks but would also get caught out later by being on the wrong tyre for the variable conditions. At the end of the race the track was drying quickly, and it was those who had gambled on the right car setup at the beginning who were able to prolong the life of their wet tyres.
Cinturato WH for
The WH tyre, which stands for ‘wet hard’ is a tried and trusted, deeply treaded tyre, with a similar pattern to that seen on Pirelli’s road car tyres. The tread is designed to optimally disperse water, while maximising grip and turn in. It’s also got a long life in these conditions, allowing racers to keep racing, whatever the conditions. ‘Cinturato’ means ‘belted’ in Italian and it refers to a construction that was pioneered by Pirelli in the 1950s, giving the driver more control over the car. That’s one of Pirelli’s core philosophies, encapsulated by the famous slogan: ‘Power is Nothing Without Control.’
Partners on road and track
Pirelli and Porsche share a long history, and this latest victory is another chapter in it. It’s common now for tyre companies to produce specific tyres for a car manufacturer, but this whole trend first started when Porsche selected Pirelli to make tyres that were individually developed for the legendary 911 Turbo, introduced in the late 1970s. Pirelli still supplies marked tyres for new Porsches now – and also Collezione tyres for classic Porsches. At the Chinese Grand Prix, held during the same weekend as Monza, Porsche joined the F1 Pirelli Hot Laps programme – taking to the track with a 911.
The big number
2012. The year that Porsche last won a round of what was then called the Blancpain Endurance Series, at the Nurburgring, courtesy of Marc Goosens, Marc Hennerici, and Xavier Maasen.
Andrea Rizzoli, race winner: “Honestly, I never thought I’d be coming through to win today! It was so difficult at the start, I just tried to do a safe, clean job and let my teammates do the work later on. They were so fast. It’s just incredible to be here, winning my first race in the Pro category.”
Matteo Braga, Pirelli racing technical manager: “Unusually, this was a race where our Cinturato WH tyre came to the forefront, in conditions that were hard to predict. This proved to be a key to the race win, as the Porsche made its way up through the field. The wet tyre did its job perfectly, providing the grip needed to stay on the road at one of the fastest tracks of the year. Strategy was a key consideration, in order to be on the right tyre at the right time and to get the most out of it, with the result hard to predict right up to the end.”
The next round of the Blancpain GT Series takes place at Brands Hatch in England from May 4-5: the first race of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe.
For further information about Pirelli, please contact Anthony Peacock on +44 (0)7765 896 930 or firstname.lastname@example.org