Porsche Dominates at Pikes Peak With Pirelli Tires Developed in Rolex Series

By Auto News Log • July 1st, 2010

PIKES PEAK, Colo. – Pirelli Tire and Porsche Motorsport North America conquered the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Sunday, June 27, with a record-smashing run by Jeff Zwart in the Luminox Watches Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car shod with Pirelli P Zero racing tires.

After obliterating the qualifying record earlier in the weekend by 18 seconds, Zwart broke the existing Time Attack class record by a massive 38 seconds in his official race-day run up the famous 12.42-mile mountain course on Sunday. The victory was Zwart’s seventh triumph on the 156-turn hill climb layout and he literally left in the dust a full field of other two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive competitors that came up short on a variety of other tires from several different manufacturers.

“The Porsche Motorsport and Pirelli team had lots to celebrate on Pikes Peak with the winning combination of the 911 GT3 Cup car and the great Pirelli tires getting Jeff Zwart to the top of the hill in a new record time,” said Paul Ritchie, President and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America, Inc. “Jeff’s amazing new two-wheel drive record could only be achieved with the outstanding cooperation between Porsche and Pirelli and, of course, Jeff’s great vision to conquer the hill and his amazing driving skills.”

The P Zero tires that Zwart used for his record-run were actually the same wet-weather Pirellis that have been successful in GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT competition since 2008. The fact that the tire selected for Pikes Peak by Pirelli and Porsche was a rain-tire application supports the versatility of their industry-leading products and the entirely unique nature of the iconic event.

“This was a banner day for Pirelli and we are honored to have been part of it with Porsche and Jeff Zwart,” said Rafael Navarro III, Pirelli Tire North America Director of Motorsport and Media Relations. “Combining Porsche’s fine engineers with our equally experienced technical staff at Pirelli and a talented rally and hill climb specialist like Jeff provided the necessary ingredients we needed to achieve this outstanding result on what may be the toughest circuit of any kind in North America. The performance of the P Zeros and the Porsche GT3 Cup were equally impressive and this is a victory that will take its rightful place in Pirelli’s more than a century of motorsports achievements.”

Zwart’s 2007 GT3 Cup car, which was updated to 2010 specifications, was the only Porsche competing at Pikes Peak. It was also the fastest production-based car of the event and Zwart’s time of 11:31.095 was the sixth fastest overall behind three Unlimited Class and two Open Wheels cars, which all produced at least 600-plus horsepower. Nobuhiro Tajima won the hill climb overall in a turbocharged eight-cylinder Suzuki 4WD one-off race car in the Unlimited Class.

“It was a perfect day and the perfect combination of the right tires on a great car,” Zwart said. “This is a very satisfying accomplishment and thank you to Pirelli and Porsche. Again today I was amazed at the way the Pirellis handled the transition from asphalt to gravel to asphalt to gravel. The predictability of the tires and feedback from the car was extremely good in very different situations going up the mountain. Without Luminox Watches, Porsche Motorsport North America and Pirelli tires, this victory would not have been possible.”

The legendary hill climb course begins at 9,390 feet, finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak and features a surface which is paved near the beginning and the end and, for the most part, run on gravel.

“The tires maintained perfect wear and temperature throughout the climb. This was key as the single most difficult section is near the top of the mountain because of the high-speed asphalt section that notoriously wears tires out before you transition to the fastest gravel section of the course. I was able to transition to the high speed gravel without hesitation as I had complete grip, control and acceleration through the slow speed corners to finish the strong run.”

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motorsports race in America, behind only the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First contested in 1916, this past weekend marked the 88th running of the “Race to the Clouds.”

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

Source: GRAND-AM Road Racing

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