Pirelli ready to hit the track for the start of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series
The opening round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series will take place Feb. 10-12 at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit, with Pirelli ready to equip a full grid of 26 Dallara-built single-seaters with its newly developed 13-inch P Zero control tires.
Pirelli has already enjoyed a successful start at Abu Dhabi, taking part in two official two-day tests between Feb. 2-3 Feb. 6-7, with Pirelli tires completing 2,761 laps and 13,060 kilometers. The medium compound slick tires were provided for these tests, with very positive results thanks to their strong adaptability to variable track conditions.
"Our P Zero medium slicks have passed the tests with full marks, from start to finish,” said Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola. “This is a very positive result if we consider that this was the first time that the GP2 drivers had the chance to try the new rubber. The demanding features of this track tend to have a strong impact on tires, and the medium slicks proved to be up to the challenge. Adding to the demands of the Yas Marina Circuit was the uncertain weather that characterized these tests from start to finish. However, our P Zero medium slicks showed themselves to be very versatile, ensuring safety and performance despite some very complicated track conditions."
The Italian firm will bring its medium compound tire to Abu Dhabi for the first round of the GP2 Asia season, this weekend, providing four sets of slicks and, if necessary, three sets of wets for each car. Of the four types of dry tire (hard, medium, soft and supersoft), Pirelli has nominated the medium compound for both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, because of its exceptional versatility being a perfect match for these circuits.
The Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit has been chosen as the venue for the first round of the GP2 Asia championship because of its outstanding setting and unparalleled facilities. It is truly a unique venue, thanks to its cutting-edge technological features and luxurious structures that comprise a marina, a yacht club, seven top hotels, and many other attractions. Not to mention the 5.554 km-long track where Pirelli's P Zero tires have already successfully performed throughout two sessions of group testing a few days ago.
Thanks to its functional and stylish layout, this circuit enables sophisticated racing strategies, where tires play a key role. It has a few potential overtaking spots, including a very long straight and a chicane with heavy braking in sector two, plus a long curve at the beginning of the third sector. On the track, the rubber is pushed to its very limit to absorb all the stresses of racing. Normally, the mostly warm weather that this location enjoys, even in February, translates into high track temperatures that can have a strong impact on tire wear and temperature. However, during tests drivers had to deal with extremely variable conditions, experiencing a very dusty track with fog and strong winds, and even a few drops of rain dampening the tarmac.
Isola explained: "We decided to bring our medium compound to these pre-season tests as this will be the one to be raced in the upcoming rounds. We were looking forward to completing these first tests and seeing how our medium tires behaved. We have already successfully completed several private tests, but when it comes to group testing, things can turn out to be more complicated. On private tests, tires are tested using a single car on a green track. During group tests, there are 26 cars using our tires, and the track characteristics can change after a few laps. This makes a big difference in terms of grip, but the P Zero medium tires lived up to our expectations. They performed very well, ensuring durability and high levels of grip especially in the first laps. The feedback from drivers and teams was excellent, and we are all looking forward with confidence to getting back on track in a few days when the 2011 GP2 Asia season will commence."
The first round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series will feature two races. Race one takes place on Friday, Feb. 11 at 16:40, while race two is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 12 at 16:50 (GMT+4hrs). Practice and qualifying sessions will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 14:30 and at 17:25, respectively (GMT+4hrs).
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