Three of the most prominent GT racing series that Pirelli is involved in will light up Monza this weekend: the Blancpain GT Series (made up of both Endurance and Sprint events), the GT4 European Series, and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo: the world’s fastest one-make series.
Monza hosts the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance series, the main race of the weekend, with a full grid of 57 cars representing 11 different brands.
In the new GT4 series, there are 27 different entries (and seven manufacturers) while 47 Lamborghini Huracans will start as part of the prestigious Super Trofeo.
Pirelli is the exclusive tyre supplier to all these series, with the vast majority of the premium manufacturers represented in them also using Pirelli P Zero as original equipment on their road cars. The cars eligible in the Blancpain GT Series will be GT3 race versions of road-going sports cars, with a wide range of engine and drivetrain configurations but they all have Pirelli in common. The same is true for the GT4 series which makes use of slightly less sophisticated GT4-specification cars and the one-make Lamborghini Super Trofeo: continuing the relationship that has put Pirelli tyres on every single road-going Lamborghini since the company was founded.
While the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Series have their own separate rankings again this year, there will also be an overall Blancpain GT Series title for the highest-scoring driver and team to contest both series. There is a EUR150,000 prize fund on each event (distributed among 11 cars in 2016) as well as a tyre prize from Pirelli totalling 84 sets of tyres throughout the year: emphasising the Italian firm’s commitment to GT racing using cars and tyres that resemble those of production models.
For Monza, Pirelli will supply a competition product to meet the massive demands of ‘the temple of speed’, characterised by long straights and also some high kerbs that put plenty of energy through the tyres. The Blancpain cars will use Pirelli’s DHC product, while there will be DH tyres for the GT4 entrants, and a specific newly-created DH for the Lamborghini Super Trofeo as well. There will also be a wet tyre available for all three series in case it rains.
The hallmark of Pirelli’s products for endurance racing is versatility. The tyres will need to cope with a wide range of conditions, from the speed of Monza to the twists of the Hungaroring. Not only that but the tyres need to cope with the intensity of sprint races together with the length of endurance races including the epic Spa 24 Hours. On top of that, they have to be as user-friendly for a gentleman driver as they are for a seasoned professional, thanks to the Pro Am nature of endurance racing.
This weekend’s action at Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix, is spent mostly at full throttle. Because of the long straights, the cars run with low downforce, meaning that grip is at a premium in the corners and drivers frequently experience understeer. So it is down to the tyres to do all the work.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: Monza is an extremely important event for us: not only is it our home race, but also one where three of the most important GT series in the world come together at a truly spectacular venue. GT racing is at the very heart of what we do, as world leaders in Ultra High Performance products. The GT cars we see on the track are closely related to their road-going equivalents, and in exactly the same way, the Pirelli P Zero tyres fitted to them also transfer their technology straight to our high performance tyres that are driven on the road. The diversity of the prestige and premium manufacturers competing in these series underlines the popularity of all three championships. It’s no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of these manufacturers all choose P Zero tyres as original equipment.
Qualifying for the Blancpain Endurance Series takes place in the afternoon of Saturday 23 April, with the race on Sunday lasting for three hours. The GT4 European Series and Lamborghini Super Trofeo both feature two races: one each on Saturday and Sunday.