Pirelli set new record at Watkins Glen twilight race
The race's fast, furious pace created by the asymmetric track helped competitors get the most out of their P Zero Racing Slicks during the twilight sprint.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won a record-matching seventh race in the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series season in the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley Daytona Prototype. The winning performance included Pruett setting the fastest lap of the race just over three minutes prior to the checkered flag on a set of Pirelli P Zeros that showed no declination in performance after being raced hard for nearly an hour. The winner's average speed of 120.679 mph was also a Daytona Prototype record at The Glen.
"Pirelli did a great job once again," Pruett said. "We ran three sets of tires in the race and they were all great. The consistency and the durability, as I have said before, are just two of the areas where they have made a big step forward this year, and we see it race after race after race."
Pruett, Rojas and the potent TELMEX/Ganassi team have all but officially wrapped up the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Team and Driver Championships, and the team's lead driver is already looking toward next season when it comes to racing tires.
"I think it's incredibly impressive to see this kind of performance and I am not sure why GRAND-AM is changing to a different tire manufacturer next year," Pruett said. "I'd be happy to stay with Pirelli, but that's out of my hands."
In GT action, James Gué and Leh Keen scored a trio of firsts in the No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving/Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 GT after Keen charged to the lead and ultimate victory with just four laps remaining. The win was the first in GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition for Gué, Dempsey Racing and the first-year Team Seattle/Global Diving entry. Some quick in-race setup changes by the No. 41 crew to maximize the performance of the P Zeros in the changing conditions were one of the keys to victory.
"It was flat out pretty much the whole time but the Pirellis were there for us at the end," Keen said. "This track is very fast and aero is very important, but James had a little bit of an understeer problem at the start of the race. We took some rear wing out of it on our first pit stop to help some of the balance, and when I pitted again, we took more rear wing out of it. That right there got us in the sweet spot right where we needed to be, the Pirellis responded, and we motored along to the win."
Although the No. 41 scored its maiden victory, the first-year Team Seattle/Global Diving entry is not eligible in the Pirelli P Zero Club. That means a record "six-race-rollover" bonus of $35,000 in Pirelli P Zero Club money will be up for grabs for any eligible GT teams in the next race in Montreal later this month. Another repeat win by the No. 01 team also gave the Daytona Prototype P Zero Club bonus pool a "double bonus" bump to $10,000 for Montreal.