Pirelli has announced that its new asphalt tyre has been approved by its technicians and the FIA ahead of 2008, when the Italian firm will become the official tyre supplier for the FIA World Rally Championship.

The new tyre is said to be 'an innovative and ecologically-aware product', which has been formulated over several test sessions.

A statement from the Pirelli added:

"Pirelli is working hard to prepare the rubber for all the different surfaces that competitors will face on next year's WRC from January onwards.

"The Italian firm's technicians recently signed off the asphalt tyre, after an intensive and detailed series of tests with reigning Italian Rally Champion Paolo Andreucci and the Bozian Racing Peugeot 307 WRC used by Gigi Galli on a number of WRC events throughout 2006.

"The countries visited by Pirelli and Andreucci during the test programme included France and Spain, before ending up in Sardinia.

"This intense test cycle has enabled Pirelli to come up with a tyre that has met with the FIA's seal of approval and will showcase a number of innovative features.

"In particular, the new tyre will not use any so-called 'heavy oils' in its construction. The elements in the new tyre already conform to environmental legislation set to come into force in 2010.

"Below are some technical details relating to the all-new Pirelli PZero asphalt tyre for the WRC next year:

Asphalt WRC tyre - technical notes:

Tread pattern

This is completely new, featuring a different design philosophy to previous competition tyres. Its form draws heavily upon Pirelli's Ultra High Performance road car products that are currently on sale.

Just like high-performance road car tyres, the new rally tyre moves towards an asymmetric design, whilst taking on board the lessons learned from the development of the well-known RX tyre, which is particularly efficient on dry asphalt. The external shoulder of the new tyre is wider, giving excellent levels of grip when the car is learning into a corner, while the internal part of the tyre features more prominent grooves. These grooves enable the car to work effectively in wet asphalt conditions, even if there is a risk of aquaplaning.

The differences between the new asphalt P Zero tyre and the existing WRC rubber that has been produced to date - generally consisting of specialised tyres for either wet or dry conditions - now begin to be clear.

The new World Championship asphalt tyre is designed for use in both wet and dry conditions: just like the tyres fitted to road cars. For extremely wet asphalt conditions, drivers will be able to 'cut' their own tyres in order to guarantee the highest possible levels of safety.

Profile

The profile of the new asphalt PZero tyre has been designed to optimise its footprint, even when a rally car is running with a high camber set-up. It is also designed to manage wear as effectively as possible, even in extreme conditions like those seen on WRC events.

Construction

The new tyre's construction has been strengthened even further (hence the 'Extra Load' nomenclature) compared to the existing asphalt rubber, in order to minimize the risk of punctures. This is vitally important, as from 2008 the use of mousse or any other anti-deflation device has been outlawed.

The new tyre's carcass is made up of the latest and most innovative materials developed by Pirelli's technicians. Their goal was to obtain maximum rigidity and progression, whilst providing a tyre that was instantly reactive and easy to drive. At the same time the usual basic requirements had to be met - such as minimum weight and maximum resistance to lacerations.

A high-grade circumferential belt has also been incorporated within the structure to ensure that the tyre maintains its shape even at high speeds.

Compounds

The tyre regulations stipulated by the FIA from 2008-2010 allow for only two compounds, which need to be able to cope with an extremely wide range of conditions.

1. A soft tyre designed for damp or wet road conditions, or for dry conditions and smooth surfaces but with cool temperatures.

2. A hard tyre for more abrasive asphalt, with warm or hot air temperatures.

Details will be released shortly of the two remaining tyres required next year, for gravel and for snow.

 

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