Records and Outstanding Competition Highlight Pirelli's Inaugural Season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series

An outstanding first year of competition for Pirelli in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 came to a successful conclusion last month at the 2008 season-ending SunRichGourmet.com 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park, Saturday, September 20.

Pirelli met the challenges of its biggest and most significant North American racing program in the company's illustrious 100+ year Motorsport history head-on, debuting its flagship P Zero racing tyres in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.  Teams and drivers immediately realized that Grand-Am racing was going to get much faster and the competition even tougher thanks to Pirelli.  Lap times decreased while close racing increased this season in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes.  Despite the increase in racing-intensity, competitors in both divisions experienced incredible tyre wear and durability, often allowing teams to run multiple stints on one set of P Zeros. 

"Pirelli proved this year that they were committed to the challenge of supporting our diverse and intense racing series," said David Spitzer, Grand-Am Vice President of Competition.  "The proof was in the outstanding and record-setting racing that was certainly influenced by the increased speed and traction demonstrated by the Pirellis."

Pirelli proved its ability to professionally address any challenge, and worked hard to familiarize teams with the performance characteristics of the Pirelli P Zero racing slicks and rain tyres.  Races and tests were run in all types of conditions, from near freezing weather to extremely hot summer temperatures and a variety of dry and wet weather conditions that showcased the abilities of the P Zeros as well as those of the Pirelli Motorsport team.

"Not only did we have a great season of racing competition, we also saw an extraordinary response from Pirelli all year," Spitzer added.  "Pirelli demonstrated a galvanizing spirit of doing whatever it took to make things right as the normal challenges arose throughout the year.  The end result was a great season and we are looking forward to an even better year in 2009."

Rafael Navarro III, Pirelli Tire North America's Director of Media Communications and Motorsports is also looking forward to next year, and reflected upon Pirelli's successful 2008 season.

"In addition to Grand-Am and all of our colleagues on the Pirelli team, I want to sincerely thank all of the men and women of the Rolex Series racing teams who are among the best people we have had the privilege to work with," Navarro said.  "We know we gave them the best possible tyres available and that in-turn, we could count on them to push our P Zeros to the limit.  We are preparing diligently for 2009, knowing that 2008 will be remembered as one of the biggest motorsports undertakings in Pirelli's 100-plus year history.  We are very proud of everyone who played a role in this success."

Next up for Pirelli is the first of two tests at Daytona International Speedway that will conclude Grand-Am's on-track activity for 2008.  A three-day test begins Monday, October 27 that will mark the final time 2008-specification Pirelli P Zeros will be used.  Teams will then return to Daytona on November 11th and 12th for the first Grand-Am group test on 2009 specification Pirellis.

Pirelli Tire North America designs, develops, manufactures and markets tyres for passenger vehicles, motorcycles and race cars for original equipment and replacement markets.  Located in Rome, Georgia, Pirelli's Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tyres for both export and domestic markets.  For more information please visit www.us.pirelli.com.