Pirelli performs at Bosch Engineering 250
Pirelli P Zero Racing Slicks delivered ultra-competitive performance in Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and proved essential to the first “double bonus” win and “double rollover” in the short history of this year’s all-new Pirelli P Zero Club Bonus Program.
Capturing their third overall win in 2010 and the Daytona Prototype victory at VIR was the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley Daytona Prototype of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The Ganassi team’s impressive triple-win streak also means a double-roll-over bonus will be awarded to any first-time 2010 Daytona Prototype winners in the next race at Lime Rock Park on May 31. In GT action, the No. 66 AXA/TRG Porsche GT3 of Andy Lally and Ted Ballou scored their first class victory of the year in Saturday’s race and also won the first-ever $10,000 P Zero Club double-bonus payout.
While the Pirelli P Zero Club program is delivering some cool cash bonuses and excitement to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series this season, the proven performance of Pirelli’s P Zero racing tires over the past three years in GRAND-AM is far from surprising. Once again Pirelli was a key factor in a fast, close and highly-competitive race at VIR.
In a brilliant 1-2 finish, the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley of Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle chased the winning Ganassi machine to the finish, coming up just .293 seconds short of victory. Wilkins and Frisselle pressured the eventual winners throughout the race, relying on their Pirelli tires every step of the way. The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli finished third.
“The Pirellis were great,” said Wilkins, who drove the opening shift in the No. 61 Ford Riley. “We started on our qualifying tires, and we ran pretty hard in qualifying - and they held in there all the way through. We ran strong the whole run and put some pressure on the leaders early on. We just tried to stay out of trouble and the tires did a great job for us. Burt had two brand-new sets of Pirellis to take him to second place at the end, so, it was a great result for the team and thanks to Pirelli for providing us with good rubber.”
GT Class winner Lally withstood a late challenge from runner-up Jeff Segal (co-driven by Emil Assentato) in the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT – the winner of the previous two GRAND-AM GT races. Segal’s wins this season actually created the rollover that produced the $10,000 bonus paid to the No. 66 TRG Porsche this week. The No. 07 Banner Racing Corvette of Paul Edwards and Scott Russell finished third.
“This was a great event,” said Lally, who earned his 21st career Rolex Series victory in this, his 100th series race start. “We were able to run a little bit more downforce, and that let us beat up on those Pirellis a little bit more; and they took it all day long. I was really happy with the tire performance. The VIR track is notoriously hard on tires so I am happy to come out here and run consistent laps.”
Next up for Pirelli and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is a Memorial Day Monday race at Lime Rock Park where the GT class will be joined by the Daytona Prototype competitors for the first time on the 1.50-mile configuration of the classic Connecticut road course. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Memorial Day Monday, May 31.
Pirelli Tire North America designs, develops, manufactures and markets tires for passenger vehicles in both the original equipment and replacement markets as well as markets and distributes tires for motorcycles and motorsports. Located in Rome, Georgia, Pirelli’s Modular Integrated Robotized System (MIRS) employs state-of-the-art technology to manufacture tires for both export and domestic markets. For more information please visit www.us.pirelli.com.