Pirelli Competizioni was given cause to celebrate its 100th year in top level motorsport after signing an agreement with Grand-Am under which the Italian manufacturer will supply its P Zero Racing tyres to teams competing in the Rolex Series between 2008-10.
Both the Daytona Prototype and GT categories will run on Pirelli rubber in that three-year period, as the manufacturer returns to the series in which it won the GT 'Triple Crown' of drivers', manufacturers' and team championships with the Saleen-Speedlab operation.
“The importance of this agreement assumes an even greater significance as it has been reached during a year that coincides with a major anniversary for Pirelli – our 100th year in motor racing," director of Pirelli Competizioni, Paul Hembery, observed, "During that century of motorsport, Pirelli tyres have won throughout the world in events ranging from Formula One and rallying to desert raids and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Victories on American soil are an important feature of that history too.
“The partnership accord signed with Grand-Am is of considerable importance to Pirelli in the United States. We have carefully examined the evolution of the Grand-Am series and have been very impressed by its rapid growth into one of the leading players on the American racing scene. On that basis, we want to offer all our support and technical know-how, work together with all the teams, drivers and organisers, widen the promotional activity, and ensure for everyone a continuing growth and elevated recognition at an international level.”
Pirelli displaces Hoosier as supplier of spec tyres to the Rolex Series, but the US manufacturer managed to hold on to its deal to supply rubber to the supporting KONI Challenge for another three years.
Continuing a relationship that began when the Grand-Am Cup Series was formed in 2001, Hoosier extends an agreement that not only makes it the only tyre supplier that the Grand-Am Cup Series or KONI Challenge has ever known, but also stretches back to the Cup series' predecessor, the Motorola Cup, beginning in 1999.
“The impact Hoosier Tyre has had on making not only the KONI Challenge Series but also the Rolex Series - and, in particular, the Daytona Prototype class - the most competitive form of road racing in North America cannot be overstated,” said Grand-Am president Roger Edmondson, “We are grateful to Hoosier for serving our Rolex Series teams wonderfully over the past two years and continuing through the end of this season. At the same time, Hoosier remains a natural choice to continue supplying tyres to the KONI Challenge Series, which kicked off its 2007 season in spectacular fashion here at Daytona International Speedway yesterday thanks in no small part to Hoosier Tyre.”
A total of 92 race cars competed in the Fresh From Florida 200 on Friday, the opening race of a 12-race schedule for the 2007 KONI Challenge Series.
“We are proud to continue our relationship with the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series and to offer on-site technical and service support to this exciting and growing group,” said Hoosier's VP of marketing, Dennis Sherman, “We're excited about the growth the series has seen, and we look forward to many years of continued success.”