Pirelli Back in Action as British GT Returns for Second Visit to Donington

Pirelli will equip a season’s best entry of 24 cars as the Intelligent Money British GT Championship returns to Donington Park for the second time this season.

The Leicestershire circuit hosts the fourth round of six in Britain’s premier domestic racing series, with the title battles in both GT3 and GT4 heating up.

The Challenge

Having previously hosted a two-hour endurance and one-hour sprint race already this season, Donington Park is back for its second meeting. The circuit may be familiar to the teams and drivers but there are variables which can throw up challenges for the Pirelli tyres.

Donington is a fast a flowing track like Brands Hatch, but there is at least a little more margin for error, meaning drivers can afford to take slightly higher risks than perhaps they’d want to at Brands. It’s also the first time a three-hour race has been held at the circuit for British GT, which will result in longer stint lengths and greater demand on the compounds.

The tyres work hard through the first half of the lap with several medium to fast corners and significant undulations in the circuit making it quite a technical challenge. The tyres are given a little respite in the latter part of the lap from the back straight to the final corner, but as it’s a quite short lap, there is not much let up; luckily the relatively smooth surface does help somewhat in keeping tyre temperature and wear in order.

The tyres

For 2020, the GT3 competitors will use Pirelli’s new P Zero DHE tyre: an evolution of the previous DHD2, with modifications designed to make it even more versatile for the wide variety of GT3 cars and drivers who use it.

There’s another new tyre for GT4 as well, with the P Zero DHB replacing the DH, once more with the aim of improving all aspects of tyre performance.

The Cinturato WH tyres remain in place for wet weather. All the tyres have been designed to work with a variety of car set-ups and driver, delivering maximum performance 100% of the time.

Competitors: GT3

There are 14 cars entered for the GT3 class, with Michael Brown and Matt Manderson joining the championship for the first time in their Ultimate Speed run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

In the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo, Michael Igoe is partnered by another Lamborghini Factory Driver in the form of Marco Mapelli.

Mapelli, who was on GT World Challenge Europe duty a fortnight ago with FFF Racing, stands in for Andrea Caldarelli who is competing in the Road to Le Mans race.

Competitors: GT4

In GT4, the title battle is as intense as ever with the top four crews split by just 11 points. Seven cars are entered for the weekend, with TF Sport’s Jamie Caroline/Dan Vaughan and Patrick Kibble/Connor O’Brien the ones to watch out for after the pair made contact with each other last time out at Brands Hatch.

Balfe Motorsport meanwhile has expanded to a three-car effort, with former British Touring Car Championship regular and 2012 British GT4 champion Warren Hughes teaming up with Jan Klingelnberg.

Jonathan Wells, Pirelli UK motorsport manager:

“As is the norm in GT3, it is likely that tyres will be changed at each pitstop as the performance window of the tyres is usually one hour of consecutive running. Of course, any safety car period could elongate stint length to some extent, but that’s all down to timing and strategies. For the GT4 cars, the tyre strategy is a bit more open with some opting to change at each pitstop whereas some may choose to double stint tyres. The ability to do this is dependent on driving style, car type and conditions.

“Usually, for the slick compound used, the cooler temperatures usually mean quicker peak and average laptimes. There is a distinct step change in performance above 30°C track – you can easily lose one second a lap – but as the compound is the same in both GT3 and GT4 and for all tyres, this doesn’t change the relative performance of the cars, teams and drivers, it is a global shift.”

2020 British GT Championship Calendar

Round 1: Oulton Park, 1-2 August
Round 2: Donington Park GP, 15-16 August
Round 3: Brands Hatch GP, 29-30 August
Round 4: Donington Park GP 2, 19-20 September
Round 5: Snetterton 300, 3-4 October
Round 6: Silverstone GP, 7-8 November