Pirelli’s 2013 motorsport season gets underway
The latest evolution of the company’s Formula One tyres – the third in three years – and the new 17-inch tyre for Superbikes: a fresh direction for the highest profile championship derived from road bikes. Also presented were the latest range of 2013 products for more than 250 other championships that Pirelli is involved in – fewer than half of which are a single-make tyre supply – taking place in more than 40 countries all over the world from America to the Far East.
- Pirelli: a revolution in formula one and superbikes for 2013
- New compounds for single-seaters and a new 17-inch tyre for superbikes
- The goal: better performance and even more entertaining races for formula one and superbikes
- Pirelli presents its new motorsport season in Milan more than 250 other motorsport competitions in more than 40 countries all over the world, are also supplied by pirelli
- Pirelli will supply 720,000 tyres to the most prestigious car and motorbike manufacturers throughout 2013, such as Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ducati, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche
- Pirelli returns to stock car racing in brazil while there are bespoke tyres for the new GT Championships
The backdrop for the launch of Pirelli’s 2013 global motorsport activities was the company’s headquarters in the historic Bicocca district of Milan. For the occasion, Pirelli threw open the doors of its research and development laboratories to the international media. This is where the range of P Zero, Cinturato, Scorpion and Diablo competition tyres is designed and developed, as well as the home of the pilot Next Mirs facility: the most advanced robotised tyre production line in the world.
Pirelli’s motorsport programmes and strategies were presented during an international press conference hosted by Marco Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli’s President and CEO, Chief Technical Officer Maurizio Boiocchi, Motorsport Director (Car) Paul Hembery and Motorsport Director (Bike) Giorgio Barbier.
NEW SEASON, NEW TYRES FOR FORMULA ONE AND SUPERBIKES
As is the case every year, Pirelli once more presents innovative new tyres for every motorsport category it is involved with for 2013, developed in accordance with the teams and the various governing bodies. The key innovations are centred around the top global championships for both cars and bikes.
The entire range of Formula One tyres undergoes a revolution this year. The P Zero slick tyres and wet Cinturato tyres feature new structures and softer compounds. The objective is to increase thermal degradation and ensure at least two pit stops for every grand prix, increasing overtaking opportunities and so helping to provide an even better show. All of the slick tyres have improved performance and are faster by up to 0.5 seconds per lap. The performance gap between the different compounds is also at least half a second, in order to enhance race strategy and differences in speeds during each race.
The most visible change is to the hard compound P Zero, which as well as having a wider working range this year, changes colour and is now distinguished by orange markings on the sidewall (see separate article).
Superbike.The constant process of intense work and innovation carried out by Pirelli for Superbikes, which began in 2004, continues this season for the 10th consecutive year: the longest single-tyre supply agreement in the history of motorsport. Last year, Pirelli developed and took to the track a total of 26 products for Superbikes.
For 2013, the most far-reaching innovation from Pirelli for Superbikes is the move from 16.5 to 17-inch tyres, which has a profound effect on the overall performance of each bike. The new tyres were tried out by the riders for the first time during tests at the Aragon circuit in Spain last July. During this test, an improvement in times of up to 1.5 seconds per lap was recorded (see separate article).
PARTNER OF ALL MAJOR TEAMS FROM PROTOTYPES TO SINGLE-SEATERS
Pirelli’s involvement in motorsport goes beyond Formula One and Superbikes. Throughout the 2013 season, the Italian firm will be represented all over the world in a variety of different championships, both on the track and the road. In total, Pirelli is involved in 250 other diverse motorsport series (aside from Formula One and Superbikes) that require the design and production of more than 200 different types of tyre each year. Pirelli will supply around 720,000 tyres for all its motorsport activities this year, underlining its status as the tyre manufacturer that is most heavily involved in motorsport at both national and international level all over the world.
Every weekend approximately 100 teams compete on Pirelli tyres, ranging from top names such as Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ducati, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Maserati, McLaren, Mercedes and Porsche to privateers, involving thousands of drivers and riders – many of which are backed by Pirelli through special development programmes. Just like Formula One and Superbikes, all these teams and drivers are assisted by Pirelli’s engineers and technicians: around a hundred dedicated people who go from track to track, weekend after weekend, to provide the best possible support for their teams and accumulate as much data as possible for Pirelli’s research headquarters in Milan. Pirelli’s Formula One team consists of 52 people, plus 11 for the GP2 and GP3 series. In Superbikes, support comes from 30 Pirelli personnel.
BESPOKE TYRES FOR EVERY CATEGORY
When it comes to cars, Pirelli supplies both single-seaters (such as F1, GP2 and GP3) as well as racing cars derived from their road-going equivalents, such as GT and rally (including historic rallying). Pirelli also supplies a number of the most prestigious one-make championships in the world, such as the Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Maserati Trofeo. This year Pirelli adds the most popular championship in South America to its sporting portfolio: Brazilian stock cars, with other top championships in North America being added to the programme next year.
In motorbike racing, as well as Superbikes and all its associated classes, the other key championships are the World Motocross Championship and World Endurance Championship.
For each of these series Pirelli develops bespoke tyres, coming up with innovative solutions every season that reflect the technical and regulatory evolutions in each discipline.
GP2 – GP3
Alongside Formula One and Superbikes, Pirelli is involved in 250 competitions all over the world (112 bike championships and 138 car championships). The premier feeder series for Formula One are GP2 and GP3, also supplied by Pirelli. The new range of tyres for GP2 fits in with the changes that were introduced last year. In 2012 two compounds per race were used for the first time, just like Formula One, and this year virtually the entire range has been redesigned, making the tyres softer and faster. In particular, the young drivers will use a brand new medium, soft and supersoft.
The most significant innovation for GP3 concerns the car, which goes from 280 to 450 horsepower. In order to cater for this significant power hike, Pirelli has created a brand new product (see separate article).
BRAZILIAN STOCK CAR
Pirelli makes a spectacular return to top-level motorsport in Brazil this year. After a five-year absence, the Italian firm will once more be the exclusive supplier to the Brazilian Stock Car Championship: the most popular motorsport series in the country. The stock car tyres will be made utilising the same factory and production processes as used in Formula One, at Pirelli’s cutting-edge motorsport facility in Izmit, Turkey (see separate article).
This season will feature a new GT category: the GT Sprint Series, which will sit alongside the Blancpain Endurance Series. The championships are designed for prestige sports cars such as those made by Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Corvette, Jaguar, McLaren and Porsche. These Ultra High Performance cars are Pirelli’s natural habitat, in which all the company’s technology learned from motorsport is invested (see separate article).
There are also some important innovations coming for the Lamborghini Super Trofeo, one of the principal one-make championships that Pirelli has supplied since the series started. As well as supplying the European and Asian championships, Pirelli will also equip the six American races introduced for this year (see separate article).
Moving onto two wheels, as well as the Superbike and Supersport classes, Pirelli will also supply the Superstock 1000 and 600 categories in the United Kingdom, as well the Ducati 848 Challenge and Triumph Challenge (see separate article).
EIGHT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRES PLUS THREE MOTORSPORT FACTORIES
As well as the personnel on the ground, Pirelli’s motorsport campaign is supported by a team of 1000 people. These are made up of chemists, physicists and engineers working in research and development centres located in Germany, Brazil, Turkey and China, which complement Pirelli’s central research and development facility in Milan.
Milan is the base for 400 engineers, 150 of which are dedicated exclusively to Formula One. This is where the physics and chemistry laboratories are located, which carry out tests on compounds and structures using cutting-edge techniques. Mathematical models simulate the reactions of each specification of compound combined with each structure, in all possible conditions of use.
The competition compounds for cars are produced at the Settimo Torinese plant in Turin and Slatina in Romania, while the tyres are physically made at the Izmit factory in Turkey. Since 2007, this has been Pirelli’s dedicated motorsport facility.
Radial bike tyres for competition use are made at Breuberg in Germany, while off-road bike tyres for competition use are produced at Gravitaì in Brazil.
All the motorsport researchers, laboratories and production processes work in tandem with the production lines for road car and bike tyres in order to ensure consistent technology transfer from competition to the road. A number of well-known industry standards incorporated in Pirelli’s road car tyres have their origins in motorsport. These include low profile tyres and the internal belt that was developed for rallying.