Action Express and Speedsource earn Pirelli P Zero Club bonuses
The winners of Grand-Am’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona - held January 30th – 31st - earned more than just the highly-coveted Daytona Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Rolex watches for taking the top honors in the 48th running of America’s premier endurance race. The winner of the overall race and the Daytona Prototype class, the No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley team, and the winner of the GT class, the No. 70 Castrol Syntec/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 team became the first winners of the new Pirelli P Zero Club Bonus Program. The program will pay out $120,000 in cash awards during the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season.
To be eligible for the new program, teams must currently be members of the Pirelli P Zero Club, which is comprised of returning race teams that finished inside the top 10 in final 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype and GT points standings. When a member team of this year’s P Zero Club earns its first victory (in either the DP or GT classes) of the 2010 season it will also earn a $5,000 Pirelli P Zero Bonus. Any repeat wins by either team in a race during the remainder of the 2010 season will see that race’s $5,000 bonus “rollover” and continue to build at each race until other P Zero Club members score their first 2010 victories. For the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on September 11th, all members of the P Zero Club will again be eligible for the bonus, regardless of whether or not they have won earlier in the season.
The No. 9 Porsche Riley team earned the $5,000 Daytona Prototype bonus at this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona for a near-flawless run to victory in the hands of Jaoa Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller. In addition, the No. 70 Mazda RX-8 team won the $5,000 GT class P Zero bonus after David Haskell, Nick Ham and Jonathan Bomarito joined team owner and co-driver Sylvain Tremblay in a comeback run to victory.
Action Express and SpeedSource were quick to thank Pirelli Tire North America for joining GRAND-AM in introducing the lucrative new P Zero Club Bonus program; each of the winning team’s drivers also credited the series-standard Pirelli P Zero Racing Slicks for their major role in each team’s winning efforts.
“I drove in variety of conditions on both the wet and dry weather Pirellis and I was thoroughly impressed,” said Borcheller, who was also part of the team that took the overall title at the 2004’s Rolex 24 At Daytona and was 2003’s GRAND-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Champion. “I was in the car in the wet, when it went from wet to dry, and then on slicks running in the damp and trying to stay on the dry line. That is always difficult, but the Pirellis stayed consistent and came in fairly well despite the damp and cold conditions and a pretty green track after the rain.”
Borcheller’s teammate Dalziel scored his second career Daytona Prototype win to go along with his first at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2008.
“The Pirellis were excellent for us,” Dalziel said. “We could manage the tires pretty nicely and we could double-stint on the tires whenever we wanted to.”
The GT-winning No. 70 team had fallen six laps behind after a contact incident forced the team to the garage for overnight repairs; but the resilient Mazda squad came back to win by nearly four laps when the checkered flag flew at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Pirelli P Zeros held up to the demands of the No. 70 team’s charge to the front.
“It was a real testament to the Pirelli brand, their engineering and also their overall support,” said Tremblay, who led the No. 70 team to its second Rolex 24 GT win in the last three years. “This weekend the durability was awesome and the current Pirelli is by far the most consistent tire I have had the opportunity to race on. The weather was definitely dicey but one thing that wasn’t was our Pirelli tires.”
Next up for Pirelli and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, March 5th – 6th. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 6, and $5,000 P Zero Club bonuses will be among the awards on the line for any first time 2010 Daytona Prototype and GT race winning teams.