Pirelli and Zwart prepare for Pikes Peak
Pirelli has partnered with Porsche Motorsport North America for a full-on assault on the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this weekend where winning hill climb and rally specialist Jeff Zwart will drive a factory-supported Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car sponsored by Luminox Watches shod with Pirelli P Zero racing tires.
Pirelli has most recently worked closely with Porsche and its racing teams in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pikes Peak opportunity with Zwart is an extension of what has been a successful and ongoing technical relationship with Porsche in North American sports car road racing. The P Zero tires that Zwart will use for his record-run attempt are the same wet-weather Pirellis that regularly draw strong reviews from the GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT ranks. Zwart’s Pirelli of choice for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is a rain-tire application, which will attack a course comprised of paved and gravel sections.
“Having the opportunity to work with Porsche Motorsports North America and top talent Jeff Zwart at Pikes Peak is an integral part of the continuing technical partnership with Porsche in North American sports car racing the last few years,” said Rafael Navarro III, Pirelli Tire North America Director of Motorsport and Media Relations. “To take this collective experience and apply the same road-race winning Pirelli P Zero and Porsche 911 GT3 Cup package to an entirely new discipline is the type of challenge that Pirelli has embraced throughout its more than 100 years of winning success in motorsports.”
Paul Ritchie, President and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America, Inc., is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to see a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the event.
“We have considered this for a while, and to run the hill with Jeff Zwart is a great chance to put his driving skills with our product,” Ritchie said. “Our engineers and technicians chose the new 3.8 liter engine to match Jeff's 2007 Cup car and low ratio gearbox. Engine mapping was modified for the altitude and the ride height, suspension and underbody protection were modified for this rally-type event. The suspension changes also accommodate the outstanding Pirelli P Zero rain tires, which worked exceptionally well during testing. Pre-race tests suggest that the 911 GT3 Cup car fitted with Pirelli tires could be a winning combination for Jeff."
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the second oldest motorsports race in America, behind only the Indianapolis 500, and a long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. First contested in 1916 - this year marks the 88th running of the "Race to the Clouds." This year’s race will take place on Sunday, June 27 with race related events all week long.
The race is run on a 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that begins at 9,390 feet and finishes at the 14,110 foot summit of Pikes Peak, which is known as “America’s Mountain.” Zwart’s Luminox Porsche will compete in the Time Attack division against a variety of other two-wheel drive and some four-wheel drive competitors, and the experienced hill climb and rally driver is highly enthusiastic about both his GT3 Cup car and the unique tire on which it will ride.
Zwart has won his class at Pikes Peak – all in Porsche Turbo street cars – in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2004, setting new class records three times. Most recently, he co-drove a Porsche Cayenne with Pikes Peak veteran Paul Dallenbach at the challenging TransSiberia Rally (Moscow to Mongolia) in 2007. He also has an SCCA PRO Rally Championship (1990) and a SCORE Baja 1000 class win (2004) to his credit.