Pirelli's P Zero slicks praised as racers set Watkins Glen track record

Jan. 1, 2020
Drivers running on Pirelli tires turned in another record-setting performance Saturday at Watkins Glen in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series? Crown Royal 200.

Drivers running on Pirelli tires turned in another record-setting performance Saturday at Watkins Glen in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series’ Crown Royal 200.

“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,” says Rafael Navarro III, Pirelli’s director of motorsports and media relations.

Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won a record-matching seventh race for this year’s series in their 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 P Zeros that showed “no declination in performance after being raced hard for nearly an hour.” The duo’s average speed of 120.679 mph was a Daytona Prototype record at the track.

“Pirelli did a great job once again,” Pruett says. “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,” he notes.

“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,” says Pruett, referring to Continental’s upcoming role in supplying the circuit’s tires. “I’d be happy to stay with Pirelli, but that’s out of my hands.”

 

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In GT action, James Gué and Leh Keen scored a trio of firsts in their Mazda RX-8 GT after Keen charged to the lead and ultimate victory with just four laps remaining. The win was the first in 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, according to Navarro.

“It was flat out pretty much the whole time, but the Pirellis were there for us at the end,” Keen reports.

“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,” he continues. “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 will be up for grabs for any eligible GT teams in the Aug. 27-27 Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Quebec.

Another repeat win by the Pruett and Rojas team also gave the Daytona Prototype P Zero Club bonus pool a “double bonus” bump to $10,000 for the Montreal event. The two-hour race can be seen live on The Speed Channel Saturday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

For more information, visit www.us.pirelli.com.

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