While the motorsports season is coming to a close, manufacturers and teams are already preparing for the 2009 season. Pirelli is getting a jump start by debuting their new P Zero racing slick this week at Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona test session. Both prototype and GT cars will run the upgraded rubber next season, and reports are coming back that the new tire has both a higher level of performance and increased longevity. The Rolex 24 Hours will kick off the 2009 Grand-Am series from January 24-25. More info on Pirelli's new racing slick can be seen in the press release after the jump.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Pirelli Motorsport ends 2008 racing and support activities for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series where it began – at Daytona International Speedway – when it begins testing its 2009-specification Pirelli P Zero racing slicks this week during a two-day test November 11 – 12 in preparation for the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
A full field of Rolex Series Daytona Prototype and GT class competitors will have their first chance to run the 2009 Pirellis Tuesday and Wednesday this week on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course. This week's tire test will allow teams to prepare for January's season-opening 47th running of America's premier endurance race. The "Pirelli Era" in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing began last January at the 46th Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Although the test will mark the official debut of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series P Zero, teams and drivers that assisted Pirelli with the development of the new tire have already provided positive initial reports. Joao Barbosa usually turned his fastest 2008 race laps in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley at the end of his stints and was one of the top drivers in getting maximum performance out of his Pirellis in longer runs. Already impressed with their durability and longevity, Barbosa believes the new P Zero racing slicks will also provide additional consistency and stability.
"I did a back-to-back comparison in a test a few weeks ago with the current Pirelli and the 2009 tire and it seems like it is a good step forward," said Barbosa, who did his P Zero testing with Brumos at Daytona. "I was really pleased with what Pirelli had to show and I am looking forward to being able to work on the car with the new tire. It seems like the tire is more consistent and we have picked up some more stability."
Pirelli's team of engineers and technicians worked closely with Grand-Am and the Rolex Series teams and drivers in the development of the 2009 P Zero.
This week's test follows final testing of the 2008-specification Pirellis less than two weeks ago at Daytona. The two-day session will end Grand-Am's and Pirelli's official on-track activity for 2008. Next year's schedule will begin in January when the Rolex Series return to "The World Center of Racing" on New Year's Day for Rolex 24 Daytona Test Days. Paddock move-in will be the only activity during the holiday and teams will be able to take to the track for three days of testing beginning Friday, January 2.