For Pirelli, the biggest motorsport event of the year is Spa 24 Hours. This event will take place in Belgium from 21st July to 26th July. Pirelli being the exclusive tyre supplier for the Blancpain series have to deal with big logistical challenge, with around 9000 tyres transported by 21 trucks, 90 Pirelli personnel on ground and many more personnel away from the circuit.
The Blancpain GT series includes variety of cars from more than 10 different brands ranging from Bentley Continental GT3 to BMW Z4. Pirelli is the tyre supplier to all the teams in this series but to make sure that the tyres work equally well on all the cars having different configurations is a huge technical challenge for the manufacturer. All teams are supplied just one P Zero tyre compound for dry conditions and one for wet conditions.
Spa 24 Hour is tough on tyres, they have to bear with huge lateral and longitudinal forces, and some sharp compressions for a long race duration and therefore, it is a good platform to develop tyres from which high degree of technology can be transfered to normal road tyres. Most of the car manufacturers taking part in Spa 24 Hour use Pirelli P Zero tyres as original equipment on their road-going supercars. Spa circuit simulates the real world conditions that normal road tyres have to deal with, including variation in asphalt, elevation changes and Spa’s famous microclimatic conditions. Sometimes, it might be raining in one part of the circuit and the rest stays completely dry.
Total 60 drivers will be competing in this series, including Alex Zanardi (driving a BMW) and former grand prix driver and Le Mans class winner Gianmaria Bruni, in a Ferrari. Former DTM champion as well as Le Mans winners Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler will also be driving for Audi.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director said, “The Spa 24 Hours is a true highlight of our sporting calendar and one of the most relevant applications of motorsport to our road car market, with race versions of the cars that we supply with original equipment competing for the overall win. As a venue, Spa needs no introduction: it’s an awesome challenge for every driver and with 60 cars expected to start, the battles are always extremely close, despite the wide variety of machinery. From a logistics point of view, Spa is actually our most complicated event: we’re supplying three times the number of cars that we do in Formula One, for a race that lasts 12 times longer! The road and weather conditions always vary a lot during the 24 hours, which is part of what makes it such a fascinating spectacle.”