The Pirelli-equipped Lexus-riley triumphs at the Daytona 24 hours with Montoya
The Team Ganassi-Sabates prototype repeated its success of a year ago in the 46th running of the American endurance classic. Montoya - a former McLaren and Williams F1 driver - raced at Daytona with Franchitti, Rojas and Pruett, beating the Pontiac-Riley of Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson (racing for Team Gainsco with Gurney, Fogarty and Vasser). They also beat the Team Penske-Taylor crew of Castroneves, Briscoe and Busch in third.
Milan, 28 January 2008 - Pirelli faced up to one of the most challenging weekends in its motorsport history yesterday, competing in two of racing's biggest events at the same time. As well as the Monte Carlo Rally, won by the Citroen C4 of Loeb and Elena, there was the Daytona 24 Hours - which witnessed the success of Montoya-Franchitti-Pruett-Rojas in the PZero Racing -equipped Lexus-Riley run by the Ganassi-Sabates team.
The former McLaren-Mercedes and Williams-BMW F1 driver underlined the extreme toughness of this opening round of the Grand-Am series, to which Pirelli is the sole tyre supplier from 2008-2010 - as is also the case for the FIA World Rally Championship. During the Daytona race the lead changed an incredible 60 times, with 15 different cars and 25 different drivers taking it in turns to head the action in front of a chasing pack that numbered 66 competitors at the start.
Behind the winning PZero Racing -equipped Lexus-Riley there were two sister cars in second and third, but this powered by a Pontiac V8. Second place went to the Team Gainsco Riley of Johnson-Gurney-Fogarty-Vasser, which finished two laps behind the winner. Briscoe-Busch-Castroneves took the Team Penske-Taylor Riley-Pontiac to third place, four laps behind the second-placed car (which starred the '07 Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson).
In the GT category the win went to the Mazda-Pirelli of Ham-Haskell-Matos-Tremblay, who drove their Team Speedsource RX-8 to a brilliant ninth overall in front of three Porsche 911 GT3s.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motorsport director, underlined: "
Pirelli's big effort this weekend, which saw us engaged in major events on both sides of the Atlantic. We supplied Pirelli PZero tyres to all the teams taking part in two of the most significant and historic competitions in all of motorsport, such as the Monte Carlo Rally and the Daytona 24 Hours. As everybody knows, they form part of the FIA World Rally Championship and the Grand Am series respectively and Pirelli is proud to be the official tyre supplier to both."